The prevalence of dental anxiety and its association with pain and other variables among adult patients with irreversible pulpitis

BMC Oral Health. 2018 Jun 7;18(1):101. doi: 10.1186/s12903-018-0563-x.


Background: The aim is to investigate the prevalence of dental anxiety and its association with pain and other related factors in adult patients with irreversible pulpitis.

Methods: One hundred and thirty patients with irreversible pulpitis were included in this cross-sectional study. Participants were asked to fill out an information table and a battery of questionnaires to assess their level of dental anxiety, pain at their first and most recent dental experience, and pain intensity before/during the present endodontic treatment. The level of anxiety that participants displayed during the present treatment was also evaluated by the dentists using an anxiety rating scale. Data were analyzed by t-test, ANOVA, and Spearman correlation tests.

Results: 83.1% of participants suffered from moderate or high dental anxiety, and 16.2% met criteria for specific phobia. Subjects who had higher MDAS scores were more likely to postpone their dental visits (P < 0.05). Subjects who had bad experiences at their most recent dental visit were more anxious (P < 0.05). Pain at the most recent dental visit (P < 0.01) or before the present dental visit (P < 0.05) was important factor correlating with dental anxiety among participants. Notably, 36.2% of participants displayed moderate or severe anxiety during this present visit for endodontic treatment based on dentist's judgement.

Conclusions: A high percentage of people with irreversible pulpitis suffer from dental anxiety. Pain at the most recent dental visit and during endodontic treatment have strongly positive association with dental anxiety. Effective pain control in endodontics is beneficial to manage the anxiety.

Keywords: Adult people; Associated factors; Dental anxiety; Irreversible pulpitis; Pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Dental Anxiety / etiology*
  • Dental Health Services
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / complications*
  • Prevalence
  • Pulpitis / complications*
  • Young Adult