Introduction: Dental anxiety has been attributed to negative dental experiences and various socioeconomic factors. It can be the cause of poor dental and oral health, creating social and functional impairment. The objective of this study was to evaluate perceived dental anxiety, estimating its prevalence and determinants, in a Greek nursing student population.
Methods: Sample included 204 students of a nursing school in Athens, Greece, who were surveyed from April to May 2011. Data were collected with a comprehensive questionnaire consisted of: a) a set of demographic questions b) the MDAS measure (Modified Dental Anxiety Scale), c) the DVSS (Dental Visit Satisfaction Scale) and d) the Trait Anxiety Inventory (TAI).
Results: Regarding the prevalence of dental anxiety, the mean value for the MDAS tool was 10.6 (±4.2, 95% CI: 9.9-11.2) and according to the MDAS cut-off points 5.9% of the students had high fear/anxiety. It was found that women reported significant higher levels of dental anxiety (p=0.015) and had more trait anxiety (p=0.013) compared to males, but no other socioeconomic determinant seemed to correlate with dental anxiety. Patient satisfaction was found to correlate with dental anxiety. Conclusions: Dental staff should obtain a deeper understanding of the triggering mechanisms of dental anxiety and the coping strategies for minimizing the dental anxiety, by proper education in order to built a therapeutic relationship with their patients and to eradicate dental fear as much as possible.
Keywords: dental anxiety; dental health behavior; satisfaction; student