Adult Dental Anxiety: Recent Assessment Approaches and Psychological Management in a Dental Practice Setting

Dent Update. 2016 May;43(4):388-9, 391-92, 394. doi: 10.12968/denu.2016.43.4.388.


Dental anxiety of patients is a common feature of the everyday experience of dental practice. This article advocates the use of regular assessment of this psychological construct to assist in patient management. Various tools, such as the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS), are available to monitor dental anxiety that are quick to complete and easy to interpret. Patient burden is low. A new mobile phone assessment system (DENTANX) is being developed for distribution. This application and other psychological interventions are being investigated to assist patients to receive dental care routinely. Clinical relevance: This article provides evidence and expert opinion on the worth of regular dental anxiety assessment in dental practice using structured tools, such as the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, and consideration of psychological intervention development.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dental Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Dental Anxiety / psychology
  • Dental Anxiety / therapy*
  • Humans