Aims: To compare the prevalence of high dental anxiety across a variety of past distressing experiences with a previously reported Dutch sample.
Method: University students from the UK (N=1024) completed an online survey containing; the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, and the Level of Exposure-Dental Experiences Questionnaire (LOE-DEQ). Adjusted odds ratios (OR) were calculated to assess the association of self-reported distressing experiences and dental anxiety.
Results: The percentage of respondents with high dental anxiety (HDA) (total MDAS score≥19) was 11.2%. Significant prevalence of HDA across several distressing experiences was shown in both UK and Dutch samples notably: extreme helplessness during dental treatment, lack of understanding of the dentist and extreme embarrassment during dental treatment. There were little or no effects of non-dental trauma, with the exception of sexual abuse in the UK sample.
Conclusions: Trauma from various past experiences may be implicated in an increased risk of high dental anxiety.
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