Theoretical Paper

Explanatory Models of Dental Anxiety

Author: Corina Ion Goreac, Petre Traian Roşu
Titu Maiorescu University, Bucharest, Romania

Experiencing an anxiety disorder or just some anxiety symptoms is often associated with a significant decrease in quality of life and in social and professional functioning of individuals. People who have anxiety disorder are registered with multiple days of incapacity for work and show a high frequency of dependence on financial aid in different forms. Dental anxiety is caused by a variety of genetic, behavioral and cognitive factors. When genetic vulnerability is considered, it seems that dental anxiety reported in patients appears as an inheritance of vulnerability factors which predispose to anxiety in general, and specific phobia in particular. Individuals with dental anxiety do not directly inherit phobia itself, but genetic vulnerability factors can interact with other etiological elements that cause anxiety. The theory of the phylogenetic origin of fear is controversial and it has been suggested that although genetics can predict several factors related to dental fear, it does not seem to be closely related to the development of the anxiety dental symptoms.

Keywords: dental anxiety, classical conditioning, psychology of dental fear, symptoms, hypnotherapy interventions