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30 per cent of the Danish population get nervous or are afraid to go to the dentist. Another 10 per cent are so afraid that they skip their appointments or avoid going to the dentist for years, according to Danish research.
Research also shows that dentists find it difficult to spot how nervous a patient actually is, which is very important for being able to take proper care of the patient.
To address these issues, the Danish company Cope It has developed an IT system that uses research-based questionnaires to detect how adult patients feel just before a consultation. Cope It wants to develop a similar system for patients aged 3 to 13 years. This project is funded by Innovation Fund Denmark and involves professionals and researchers.
Anthropologists from the Alexandra Institute are conducting experiments and observations in school dental clinics in the municipality of Vordingborg where the system has already been used for patients aged 13 to 18.
Lene Maare, chief dentist in Vordingborg, says to Danish online science magazine Videnskab.dk:
This tool is very useful for starting a dialogue with the patient and for explaining what’s going to happen during the treatment. We hope this will benefit our patients and prevent that they develop dental phobia. We also look forward to developing a tool aimed at small children and their parents.