Title: Frequent exposure to invasive medical care in early childhood and operative dental treatment associated with dental apprehension of children at 9 years of age
Abstract: Aim This was to study prospectively a cohort of children as to whether behaviour at a 3-year examination, exposure to medical care and operative dental treatment are associated with each other, and with the level of dental apprehension at 9 years of age. Methods Data were collected at three subsequent dental examinations of 126 children (67 boys, 59 girls). Cooperation, general health condition and operative dental treatment during the preceding 3 years were obtained at dental examinations with 3-year intervals, i.e. at 3, 6 and 9 years of age. Children’s dental apprehension was assessed at the age of 9 years. The data were analysed using an ordinal logistic regression model. Results Dental apprehension at 9 years of age was associated with frequent exposure to invasive medical care (p<0.001) and past experience of operative dental care (p<0.002), but not with cooperation at 3 years of age (p=0.124). Conclusion Frequent invasive medical care in early childhood and operative dental treatment, tooth extractions in particular, are associated with dental apprehension at 9 years of age.