Dental Fear: One Single Clinical Question for Measurement

S. Jaakkola1, 2, *, P. Rautava2, 3, P. Alanen4, M Aromaa2, 5, K Pienihäkkinen4, H. Räihä6, T. Vahlberg7, M.-L. Mattila11, 2, M. Sillanpää2, 8
1 Dental Healthcare Clinic and Public Health Center City of Turku, Finland
2 Department of Public Health, University of Turku, Finland
3 Turku University Hospital, Finland
4 Institute of Dentistry, University of Turku, Finland
5 Turku City Hospital, Finland
6 Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland
7 Department of Biostatistics, University of Turku, Finland
8 Department of Child Neurology, University of Turku, Finland

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© Jaakkola et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Public Health, 20014, Turku University, Finland; Tel: +358 2 3338435; Fax: +358 2 3338439; E-mail:


A new dental fear measurement instrument, the Short Dental Fear Question (SDFQ), was developed and tested for clinical practice purposes. The correlations of the SDFQ with the Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS) and the Dental Fear Survey (DFS) were tested in 15-16-year-old adolescents. The Spearman correlations (rs) between the dental fear measurement instruments were: SDFQ – DFS: rs = 0.79, n = 26; DFS – DAS: rs = 0.72, n = 26; SDFQ– DAS: rs = 0.69, n = 27. DAS and DFS mean scores were clearly higher in the SDFQ fear group than SDFQ in the relaxed group. The SDFQ is a short and compact instrument which might be convenient for the measurement of dental fear in clinical practice.