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Flashcards in Psychology and dental anxiety Deck (17)
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Background (6)

A Conscious Decision: A review of the use of general anaesthesia and conscious sedation in primary dental care.’ DOH 2000
Public Health concerns
Child deaths due to GA.
Viable psychological alternatives.
No equality in provision.
General Dental Council guidance on misuse sedation (GDC 1997 revised 1999)


Prevalence (5)

Dental anxiety is common (McGoldrick, et., al.2001).
Dental phobia was the most prevalent specific phobia in Holland (Oosterink 2009).
United Kingdom Adult Dental survey 1988 one third of the UK adult population are dentally anxious.
Patient's with dental phobia consume of time and resources.
Dentists identify dentally anxious patients as a major source of stress (Cooper Watts and Kelly 1987, Moore and Brodsgaard 2001).


Impact of dental anxiety (4)

3% avoid completely (Lenk 2013)
Dental health state Poor (Thom 2000)
Poor oral hygiene
Risks from sedation


What are dental fears? (2)

The terms dental fears, anxiety, and phobia appear to be interchangeable and a distinction is largely disregarded in the dental literature (Gordon, Heimberg et al. 2013).
Fear is a primitive, basic emotion tied to the fight or flight response, activated in response to an imminent and specific threat; anxiety is a conditioned response characterized by anticipation of or worry about a potential future threat.


Three main components of fear (3)

1. The subjective experience of apprehension.
2. Psycho-physiological changes.
3 Attempts to avoid or escape.


Distinction between fear and anxiety (2)

Fear describes feelings of apprehension about tangible and predominantly realistic dangers and anxiety refers to feelings of apprehension that are difficult to relate to tangible sources of stimulation. The inability to identify the source of ones fears is usually regarded as the hallmark of anxiety.


The origins of fear and phobias (3)

Predisposing Genetic & Environmental Factors


Aetiology of dental anxiety (4)

Involve a spectrum of factor
Related to past dental experiences
General and specific fears
Other personality factors


Three systems of fear - Lange 1969

-loosely coupled systems that can have differing levels of intensity
-responses need not be in synchrony and therefore systems can have different levels of reactivity


What is early-onset dental fear related to? (4)

Conditioning experiences (indexed via caries level and tooth loss)
Service use patterns
Stress reactive personality
Specific beliefs about health professionals


What is late-onset dental fear related to? (3)

Aversive conditioning experiences
Irregular service use
External locus of control


Perception (3)

Perceptions and visualizations are tricks played by the mind
Reflecting that perceptions/images are to a large degree self-constructed


Cognitive (5)

1. Issues relating to control, feeling out of control within the dental setting. Also related to this are feelings of being trapped which again stem back to cognitions associated with control.
2. Related to the above is a sense of over-valued control held within the patients beliefs and therefore a pre-existent pattern associated with difficulties surrounding control.
3. Significant error and distortion in perception of dental procedure.
4. Hyper vigilance of behavioural stimuli also internal somatic changes.
5. Catastrophic misinterpretations of fear responses.


Behavioural (7)

Avoidance of dental treatment.
Escape behaviours.
Limited attendance.
Use of anesthetics.
Use of anxiolytics.
Attachment to one dentist
Ritualized behaviour


The looming cognitive style (3)

It is a negative cognitive style
It functions as a danger schema
Involves primarily imagery based mental representations of the intensification of threat


Pathological fear (3)

Is not flexible
Rigidly imposed in a top down fashion by maladaptive mental representations
Tendency to represent threat as rapidly intensifying and the risk of danger growing


Core characteristics of dentally avoidant patients (2)

It has been recognised by previous researchers in the area of dental anxieties (De Jongh et al 1994) that there are certain core characteristics both behaviourally and cognitively that mark these patients.

It is also not predictive that negative experiences in early life are the most common cause (see Locker et al 1996)