Assessment of dental anxiety levels among dental emergency patients during the COVID‑19 pandemic through the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale

Dent Med Probl. 2021 Oct-Dec;58(4):425-432. doi: 10.17219/dmp/139042.


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) continues to affect dental emergency services worldwide. Dental anxiety (DA) is described as a common and distressing problem in terms of oral health maintenance.

Objectives: The present study aimed to evaluate DA levels as well as the COVID‑19 fear and perception of control (COVID‑19 FPC) in patients attending dental emergency clinics during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Material and methods: Sociodemographic, dental and medical data was obtained from the participants. A face-to-face questionnaire with questions referring to the reasons for the emergency dental visit, the visual pain scale, the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS), and the COVID‑19 Fear and Perception of Control Scale (COVID‑19 FPCS) as well as additional questions concerning bruxism and a previous diagnosis of anxiety/panic attacks or depression was administered. The χ2 test was used to analyze the data.

Results: A total of 1,439 patients were included in the study. The most common reason for the dental visit was pain (47.5%). The prevalence of DA was 5.1% (74/1,439). A significant association was found between DA and gender (p = 0.020). The incidence of severe pain was higher in patients with DA than in those without DA (p = 0.002). No significant differences in the MDAS scores were found between patients with and without a chronic disease (p = 0.804), with regard to the educational status (p = 0.364), or between the age groups (p = 0.600). The prevalence of a 'strongly agree' response to all questions in COVID‑19 FPCS was higher in patients with DA as compared to those without DA.

Conclusions: Females and patients with severe pain were more likely to exhibit DA. In general, patients with DA strongly agreed with the statements of COVID‑19 FPCS, which may indicate a correlation between the 2 scales.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Turkey; coronavirus; dental care; fear; visual pain scale.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Dental Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires