Do dental anxiety questionnaires raise anxiety in dentally anxious adult patients? A two-wave panel study

Prim Dent Care. 2007 Jan;14(1):7-11. doi: 10.1308/135576107779398165.


Objective: To test whether or not dentally anxious patients attending the dentist for an appointment become more anxious when completing a dental anxiety questionnaire.

Basic research design: Patients were initially screened to include only those who were dentally anxious. A pre- and post-test was planned with the completion of the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) questionnaire as the intervention.

Clinical setting: Two dental access centres in the North West of England.

Participants: Initially, 583 patients were screened. Of these, 182 (31%) were found to be dentally anxious and were recruited into the study.

Main outcome measures: State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Scale Short Form.

Results: State anxiety did not change with the completion of the MDAS questionnaire in either designated dental phobics (MDAS >or=19) or those classified as non-phobics (MDAS <19).

Conclusions: The MDAS can be used to assess dental anxiety without raising anxiety in patients with or without self-reported dental phobia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Dental Anxiety / classification
  • Dental Anxiety / psychology*
  • Dental Care / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory
  • Suburban Health
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Urban Health