If your young patient doesn't feel comfortable and thinks something dreadful is going to happen when he comes to your
office, maybe he will develop dental fear. Nowadays, children and teenagers' strong negative emotions related to dental treatment are
defined as "Dental Fear and Anxiety" (DFA). Since DFA can result in children's avoidance or delay in undergoing dental visits, this
problem represents a relevant social barrier as important as other well-known factors like low family income or parental education.
Luckily the Italian Ministry of Health is implementing a programme to quantify the importance of the phenomenon. The project "No more
dental fear" was created by the Umbria region and Prof. S. Cianetti (University of Perugia, Italy), with the important collaboration of
Abruzzo and Lombardy region. Approval of the project by the National centre for prevention and disease control (CCM) in 2015
underscores the importance of this topic. The project consists in the systematic assessment - at national level - of different psychometric
scales on children's dental fear, psychological or pharmacological techniques for the management of fear, and mini-invasive methods of
prevention/treatment of dental caries. The aim is to first develop an integrated protocol, and secondly to propose a standardised model
in order to quantify dental fear and anxiety on the whole Italian territory. Lately, the attention toward young patients is highly improved
and this can be seen in the increasing rate of children's first visits. However, the steady percentage of children and teenagers that do
not see the dentist because of DFA should not be overlooked, since future treatments may be more challenging. British researchers
have already highlighted this problem and it would be productive to cooperate with other European countries.
Vol.17 – n.4/2016
Harvard: L. Paglia (2016) "Dental fear in Italy: what is going on", European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 17(4), pp257-257. doi: https://www.ejpd.eu/wp-content/uploads/pdf/EJPD_2016_4editorial.pdf
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