Objectives: Fear of dentistry is a common obstacle to obtaining dental care in Turkey. The aim of this study was to assess the reliability, validity and psychometric characteristics of the Turkish translation of the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) and compare it to the Dental Fear Survey (DFS) scores obtained in the same population.
Methods: The Turkish translated version of the MDAS was administered to 115 dental patients; 21 subjects who suffered from dental phobia, requiring general anesthesia for dental procedures, and 94 who did not have dental anxiety, in addition to 442 subjects from the general population.
Results: The Turkish translated version of the MDAS was internally consistent and reproducible. The patients with dentist phobia had the highest score. The Turkish MDAS correlated with the DFS (r = 0.80, P < 0.001). The MDAS scale correlated inversely (r = -0.14, P < 0.005) with level of education; however, it did not correlate with economic status. Women scored higher than men on the scale (mean = 12.3, SD = 5.2 vs. mean = 10.9, SD = 4.5, P < 0.005). At a cut-off point > or = 15, sensitivity was 0.80, specificity 0.74, positive predictive value 0.41 and negative predictive value 0.94.
Conclusion: Although the specificity values were low, the Turkish MDAS demonstrated acceptable sensitivity, positive and negative predictive values. Thus, high reliability and validity of the MDAS supports its cross-cultural validity and indicated that it may be a valuable tool in quantifying fear of dentistry among Turks.