Objetives: Assess levels of trait anxiety, state anxiety and dental anxiety before extraction of lower third molars and check the correlation and reliability of the scales used for the measurement of preoperative anxiety.
Study design: A prospective study of patients treated with extraction of a lower third molar between September 2010 to December 2010 was carried out. A total of 125 patients were included in the study. All of them were patients of the Oral Surgery and Implantology Department (Valencia University Medical and Dental School, Valencia, Spain). Before surgery, patients had to complete a preoperative protocol with 4 scales: the STAI-T (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Trait) for measuring trait anxiety, the STAI-S (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-State) for measuring state anxiety, and DAS (Dental anxiety Scale of N. Corah) and APAIS (Amsterdam Preoperative anxiety and Information Scale) for measuring dental anxiety.
Results: Patients undergoing extractions of an impacted lower third molar showed low levels of trait anxiety and moderate levels of state anxiety and dental anxiety. Higher levels of trait anxiety were obtained for older patients. Women had higher mean levels of dental anxiety and state anxiety that men with a statistically significant difference in STAI-S scales, DAS, and APAIS. Patients with higher trait anxiety and state anxiety showed higher levels of dental anxiety. A significant correlation (p ≤ 0.01) (p = 0.00) was found between the four scales used to measure anxiety. The scale showed higher correlation was STAI-S scale. The 4 scales showed high reliability (α of C.> 0.80).
Conclusions: Patients with highest levels of trait anxiety and state anxiety, had more dental anxiety. The STAI-T, STAI-S, DAS and APAIS scales provided useful information about anxiety before the extraction of lower impacted third molars. The STAI-S is the scale with highest correlation and reliability.