people of Appalachia-West Virginia are culturally unique and are known
to have oral health disparities. The purpose of this study was to
evaluate dental fear in relation to delayed dental care as a factor
influencing oral health behaviors within this culture.
cross sectional study design was used. Participants were urgent care
patients in a university dental clinic. The sample included 140 adults
over age 18 years. The Dental Fear Survey was used to determine dental
fear level. Self-report of delayed dental care was provided by the
participants. The Dental Fear Survey was dichotomized at score 33, with
higher scores indicating dental fear.
prevalence of dental fear was 47.1% (n=66). There was a significant
association of dental fear and dental delay. The unadjusted odds ratio
was 2.87 (95% CI: 1.17, 7.04; p=0.021). The adjusted odds ratio was 3.83
(95%CI: 1.14, 12.82; p=0.030), controlling for tobacco use, perceived
oral health status, pain, and last dental visit. A difference in dental
delay between men and women was not present in this sample. The only
significant variable in delayed dental care was dental fear.
Appalachia-West Virginia, there remains a high level of dental fear,
despite advances in dental care, techniques, and procedures.