Relationship between dental anxiety and pain perception during scaling

J Oral Sci. 2011 Sep;53(3):341-8. doi: 10.2334/josnusd.53.341.


Dental pain, anxiety and fear are important factors that prevent patients from seeking dental care. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the pain perception of patients during scaling and its relationship with dental anxiety. One hundred dental patients participated in the study. Pain levels after scaling were assessed with a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and an Anxiety Questionnaire consisting of seven questions. The mean VAS score for the entire study group was 17.3 ± 13.8 with no statistically significant differences between gender and different age groups. The mean anxiety score was 11.66 ± 4.17. This was significantly higher in women (P = 0.005), but there were no statistically significant differences between different age groups. There was a statistically significant correlation between VAS and total anxiety score (P < 0.001) as well as each question, except for questions number 3 and 4 in men. Patients were found to experience only limited pain during scaling. They were anxious because they expected pain, women being more anxious than men. Hence, dentists should seek to alleviate or reduce pain and anxiety related to treatment not only to successfully complete the treatment, but also to sustain and carry the patients into successful maintenance and patient recall.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Dental Anxiety*
  • Dental Scaling / adverse effects
  • Dental Scaling / psychology*
  • Dentist-Patient Relations
  • Facial Pain / etiology
  • Facial Pain / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Hygiene Index
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Perception*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires