AIM: To evaluate the short-term follow-up outcome in four subgroups of uncooperative child dental patients referred to a specialist paediatric dental clinic in Sweden. METHODS: Seventy children, classified into four groups (based on fear, temperament, behaviour and verbal intelligence), were followed-up at their public dental clinics after termination of specialist dental treatment. Questionnaire assessments of children's dental and general fear, parental dental fear, emotional stress, locus of control and parenting efficacy were made by parents pre and post treatment and at follow-up and were analysed within and between groups. At follow-up, parents rated their children's coping and procedure stress, while treatment acceptance was rated by the dentists. RESULTS: Decreases in child dental fear were maintained at follow-up, although a third of children still had moderate or high dental fear. For those children who had been classified into the externalising, impulsive group, an increased risk of non-acceptance (RR=3.7) was indicated. The risk of dental fear at follow-up was increased for the group of fearful, inhibited children (RR=3.8). For the study group as a whole a poorer follow-up outcome could be predicted by avoidance behaviour (OR 12.9-16.6) and moderate or high post treatment dental fear (OR 6.5- 21.3). CONCLUSIONS: Fearful, inhibited child dental patients may need, due to dental fear, extra attention even after successful dental treatment at a specialist clinic. Externalising, impulsive children constitute a special challenge for dentistry. The continued need for adjusted management after termination of specialist treatment can be predicted from avoidance behaviour and post treatment dental fear scores.