An Experimental Study of the Effects of Psychological Interventions on Adult Patients with Dental Anxiety

  •  Shou Wan Gan    
  •  Coumaravelou Saravanan    
  •  Ammar Musawi    
  •  Choon Yoong Wong    


Dental anxiety is a common problem and is considered an obstacle to providing quality dental care to patients. The present study was conducted to determine the prevalence of dental anxiety among patients under going restorative procedures in a university dental clinic, to determine the effect of a combination of psychological interventions (psychoeducation, relaxation therapy, and modeling technique) in reducing dental anxiety within and between experimental and control groups, and to identify differences in concern or anxiety towards dental procedures between pre-assessment, post-assessment, and follow-up assessment of experimental and control groups. Corah’s Dental Anxiety Scale, Revised (DAS-R) measured dental anxiety prevalence, and the Dental Concerns Assessment (DCA) identified factors causing dental anxiety. Patients experiencing dental anxiety were randomly assigned into an experimental or control group. Experimental group patients (n=15) received a 45-minute session of a combination of psychological interventions to reduce dental anxiety, whereas control group patients (n=15) received dental treatment as usual from general dental practitioners. A t-test and One-way analysis of variance were used for analyses. Results show that out of 65 patients, 41 had dental anxiety (prevalence 63.1%). Experimental group patients showed significant reduction in the post-assessment and follow-up DAS-R scores (F=18.85, P=<0.01) compared with pre-assessment scores. Significant reductions in post-assessment DCA scores were found for extraction, injection, and sound or vibration of the drill for the experimental group compared with pre-assessment scores (P<0.03). Over all, the combination of psychoeducation, relaxation therapy and modeling technique was effective at reducing dental concern and anxiety of dental procedures.

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