Types of dental fear as barriers to dental care among African American adults with oral health symptoms in Harlem

Karolynn Siegel, Eric W. Schrimshaw, Carol Kunzel, Natalie H. Wolfson, Joyce Moon-Howard, Harmon L. Moats, Dennis A. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To examine the types of dental fear experienced by African American adults and the role of these fears in the utilization of dental care, in-depth interviews were conducted with a street-intercept sample of 118 African Americans living in Harlem, New York City, who had experienced at least one oral health symptom in the past six months. Despite their oral symptoms, participants delayed or avoided dental care (often for years) due to a variety of dental fears, including fears of: 1) pain from needles; 2) the dental drill; 3) having teeth extracted; 4) contracting an illness (e.g., HIV/AIDS) from unsanitary instruments; 5) X-rays; 6) receiving poor quality care or mistreatment. These findings provide insights into the situations that provoke fears about dental treatment among African Americans and suggest strategies to address these fears in order to remove these barriers and increase the utilization of dental care by African American adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1294-1309
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • African americans
  • Dental care
  • Dental fear
  • Infection control
  • Oral health
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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