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J Oral Sci. 2011 Sep;53(3):341-8.

Relationship between dental anxiety and pain perception during scaling.

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Department of Periodontics, KLE V. K. Institute of Dental Sciences, KLE University, Belgaum, Karnataka, India.


Dental pain, anxiety and fear are important factors that prevent patients from seeking dental care. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the pain perception of patients during scaling and its relationship with dental anxiety. One hundred dental patients participated in the study. Pain levels after scaling were assessed with a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and an Anxiety Questionnaire consisting of seven questions. The mean VAS score for the entire study group was 17.3 ± 13.8 with no statistically significant differences between gender and different age groups. The mean anxiety score was 11.66 ± 4.17. This was significantly higher in women (P = 0.005), but there were no statistically significant differences between different age groups. There was a statistically significant correlation between VAS and total anxiety score (P < 0.001) as well as each question, except for questions number 3 and 4 in men. Patients were found to experience only limited pain during scaling. They were anxious because they expected pain, women being more anxious than men. Hence, dentists should seek to alleviate or reduce pain and anxiety related to treatment not only to successfully complete the treatment, but also to sustain and carry the patients into successful maintenance and patient recall.

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