The Association Between Dental Anxiety And Psychiatric Disorders And Symptoms: A Systematic Review

Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2018 Aug 31;14:207-222. doi: 10.2174/1745017901814010207. eCollection 2018.


Background: A growing amount of evidence suggests that dental anxiety is associated with other psychiatric disorders and symptoms. A systematic review was conducted to critically evaluate the studies of comorbidity of dental anxiety with other specific phobias and other Axis I psychiatric disorders.

Objective: The aim of the review was to explore how dental anxiety is associated with other psychiatric disorders and to estimate the level of comorbid symptoms in dental anxiety patients.

Methods: The review was conducted and reported in accordance with the MOOSE statement. Data sources included PubMed, PsycInfo, Web of Science and Scopus.

Results: The search produced 631 hits, of which 16 unique records fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The number of eligible papers was low. Study populations were heterogeneous including 6,486 participants, and a total of 25 tests and in few cases clinical interviews were used in the evaluation processes. The results enhanced the idea about the comorbidity between dental anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. The effect was found strong in several studies.

Conclusion: Patients with a high level of dental anxiety are more prone to have a high level of comorbid phobias, depression, mood disorders and other psychiatric disorders and symptoms.

Keywords: Anxiety disorders; Comorbidity; Dental anxiety; Psychiatric disorders; Psychiatric symptoms; Specific phobia.