Dental anxiety in patients attending a student dental clinic

Caltabiano, Marie L., Croker, Felicity, Page, Lauren, Sklavos, Anton, Spiteri, Jade, Hanrahan, Louise, and Choi, Richard (2018) Dental anxiety in patients attending a student dental clinic. BMC Oral Health, 18 (48).

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Background: This study investigated the expectations and experiences of a sample of new patients visiting an Australian regional university Student Dental Clinic with regard to anxiety provoking and alleviating stimuli in the clinical environment. Differences in anxiety levels were examined by age, gender and the type of procedure undergone. Methods: The number of dental patients who participated in the study was 102 (56 males, 43 females). The study used a pre-treatment/post-treatment design to assess the effect of the dental procedure on anxiety levels of patients. The Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) was used to measure anxiety levels in patients at pre-treatment. Questions were also asked about factors which may increase (length of the appointment, invasiveness of procedure) or decrease (perceived student interpersonal skills and clinical ability) dental fear. Results: Females reported higher total MDAS scores (M = 11.93) compared to males (M = 9.94). Younger patients (M = 12.15) had higher dental anxiety than older patients (M = 9.34). There was a reduction in dental anxiety from pre-treatment (M = 1.92) to post-treatment (M = 1.23) on the single item anxiety measure though most of the treatment being undergone by patients was for less complex procedures. Conclusions: Patients’ anticipatory experience of anxiety was higher than the anxiety experience after having undergone treatment at the student dental clinic. Student interpersonal skills and clinical ability as perceived by the patient can lessen dental anxiety in patients. Clinical Supervisor-student ratios need to be more equivalent in order to reduce the time length of appointments which currently are associated with increased patient anxiety levels in student dental clinics.

Item ID: 53734
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-6831
Keywords: dental anxiety, student dentist, University dental clinic, Australia
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© The Author(s). 2018. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2018 23:03
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 50%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3203 Dentistry > 320399 Dentistry not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920113 Oro-Dental Disorders @ 100%
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