Aim: To determine the frequency of use of dental anxiety assessment questionnaires and factors associated with their use in a group of UK dental practitioners.
Method: A postal questionnaire to all 328 dentists whose names appear in the British Society for Behavioural Sciences in Dentistry Directory. Information collected for each practitioner included gender, year of qualification, type of practice in which anxious dental patients were treated, treatment used to manage anxious dental patients, type and frequency of use of dental anxiety assessment indices.
Results: Questionnaires were returned from 275 (84%) practitioners. 269 were analyzed. Only 54 practitioners (20%) used adult dental anxiety assessment questionnaires and only 46 (17%) used child dental anxiety assessment questionnaires. Male practitioners were more likely to report questionnaire use in comparison with females (P< 0.05), when treating dentally anxious adults (26% v 14%). In addition, practitioners providing intravenous sedation were more likely to use an adult dental anxiety questionnaire (P < 0.04) than those who did not use intravenous sedation (29% v 15%). The type of treatment provided had a significant association with the use of child dental anxiety. Those providing general anaesthesia (P = 0.03) and hypnosis (P = 0.01) for dentally anxious children were more inclined to use a questionnaire.
Conclusion: The use of pre-treatment dental anxiety assessment questionnaires was low in this group of dentists. Male practitioners and those providing intravenous sedation, general anaesthesia or hypnosis seem more likely to use dental anxiety assessment questionnaires.