Treatment of dental anxiety disorders. Outcome related to DSM-IV diagnoses

Eur J Oral Sci. 2002 Apr;110(2):69-74. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0722.2002.11204.x.


In this study we evaluated treatment effects in 70 consecutively admitted patients in a specialized university clinic for treatment of dental fear. Thirty-three (47%) of the patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for Specific Phobia alone (Dental Phobia, DP), 24 (33%) had severe dental anxiety without fulfilling the criteria for phobia (ND), and 13 (19%) fulfilled the criteria for multiple DSM-IV diagnoses (MD). Dental anxiety was measured prior to, immediately after and at follow-up (mean = 19 months) using Corah's Dental Anxiety Scale and Dental Fear Survey. Dental attitudes were measured by Getz' Dental Beliefs Survey. Dental attendance and everyday functioning were measured by self-report. DP patients received significantly more treatment-sessions as compared to the ND group. Despite significant overall reductions in scores on all psychometric instruments from pretreatment to follow up, patients in the MD group reported significantly more severe anxiety at pre- and post-treatment and at follow-up as compared to patients in the ND group. There was no interaction between diagnostic group and assessment occasion (pre treatment, post treatment and follow up) on the self-reported anxiety. Patients reported significant improvements in self-esteem, social relations and everyday functioning, regardless of diagnostic group. Sixty-three percentage of the respondents had been to the dentist within 1 year after completed treatment. Patients treated by dentists who had received supervised training in exposure treatment had significantly more often seen the dentist at follow-up.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dental Anxiety / complications
  • Dental Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Dental Anxiety / therapy*
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Manifest Anxiety Scale
  • Panic Disorder / complications
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / complications
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Self Concept
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Treatment Outcome