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J Dent Hyg. 2018 Aug;92(4):35-42.

Dental Hygienists' Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice for Patients with Dental Anxiety.


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to assess the knowledge, education, attitudes, confidence, and practice of dental hygienists providing dental care to adult patients with dental anxiety (DA).Methods: A purposive sample of dental hygienists, using a snowball sampling technique, were recruited through social media sites. Inclusion criteria were limited to actively practicing, registered dental hygienists in the United States (U.S.). The validated survey had 29 questions regarding dental hygienists' knowledge, education, attitudes, confidence, and practice in regards to patients with DA. Regression analysis and chi square tests were performed on the data with research outcomes represented through frequency tables and percentiles.Results: A total of 417 participants attempted the survey; 355 participants (n=355) completed the survey yielding a participation rate of 87%. A majority, 73%, of the respondents reported DA as a "somewhat serious" to "extremely serious" issue when treating patients. Forty-eight percent of the respondents indicated that their education had prepared them to address DA but also reported the need for additional education in this area. Dental hygienists indicating higher levels of confidence in addressing DA in their patients also allowed for extra time in their schedules to treat patients with DA.Conclusion: Increased DA education in the undergraduate dental hygiene curriculum as well as post-graduate education opportunities may increase dental hygienists' confidence and capability in the management of DA.


dental anxiety; dental hygiene education; dental hygienists; dental phobia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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