Dental anxiety among Australians

Int Dent J. 1996 Aug;46(4):320-4.


This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of dental anxiety and examine its associations among a representative sample of Australians aged 18 and over. A random sub-sample of participants in a national dental telephone interview survey completed a follow-up postal questionnaire (response rate 85.2 per cent) which included Corah's Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS). The prevalence of dental anxiety (defined by a DAS score of 13 or more) in the sample was 14.9 per cent, with overall severity represented by the mean score of 9.04 (sd, 3.45). The prevalence and severity of dental anxiety were greater among women than men, and in the 35-44 age group. High-anxiety individuals reported more deferring of dental care, and more frequently reported an episodic dental visiting pattern. Although there were no differences in dental anxiety by self-reported dental status, individuals who reported impact from their oral conditions had higher dental anxiety. These associations with social impacts and deferment of care indicate that dental anxiety may be an important dental public health problem in Australia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Dental Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Dental Care
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Change
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telephone
  • Treatment Refusal