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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2004 March;45(1):29-36

language: Italian

Monitoring of anxiety, fear and phobia in the dental experience of the child

Coccanari De' Fornari M. A., Rusconi A. C., Passarelli P., Bollea E.


A study has been carried out on 140 subjects aged between 6 and 11 years, pertaining to different social conditions, in order to analyse the attitude of the children during the dental examination. It has been asked to answer to a questionnaire and to draw a picture concerning their own dental experience. The answers supplied in the questionnaire aren't always coherent with what emerges from the analysis of the drawings, in particular males don't admit, orally, the fear that, instead, they express clearly in the picture. Most children affirm that dentist is good and likeable, but they are afraid of pain and blood, and are reassured from the presence of thier parents. The attitude of the child in the dental situation depends from many variables: social, cultural, religious contexts, previous trauma, evolutionary phase, physiological and psychodynamic importance of the mouth and teeth. A degree of fear of the dentist must be considered as normal. The frequent negative reaction to the dental examination is related to the feeling of being impotent on the chair, unable to speak, while an individual is causing suffering to you. In this situation, is very important the competence and the empathy of the dentist eventually associated to pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic actions.

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