eISSN: 2299-551X
ISSN: 0011-4553
Journal of Stomatology
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vol. 68

Dental anxiety level and dental status in 18-year-old patients in Poland

Justyna Hajto-Bryk
Katarzyna Dobroś
Joanna Zarzecka

Department of Conservative Dentistry with Endodontics, Dental Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland
Online publish date: 2015/12/31
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Introduction. In recent years, no improvement in oral health of Polish youth has been noted, and their dental health is worse than in the case of their peers from other European countries. There is a larger mean number of teeth with caries, filled-in teeth, and high caries frequency. The fear of dental procedures seems to be both a cause and a consequence of poor dental condition. Aim of the study. To assess potential correlation between dental anxiety and overall dental status in the 18-year-old patients. Materials and methods. The study population comprised 210 randomly selected high-school students aged 18 years from both urban and rural areas across the Małopolska Province. Individual dental anxiety levels were assessed by the Corah’s Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS). The subjects were asked to fill in a self-designed questionnaire addressing oral hygiene practices, frequency of dental appointments and material status. On the basis of clinical examination the following were assessed: DMF index, dental treatment index, frequency and intensity of caries, and CPI. Results. Mean dental anxiety level was 10.3, as assessed by DAS (SD=4.0). Low dental anxiety was encountered mostly among the city residents, whereas it was high in the village and small town residents (p=0.006). The subjects experiencing higher dental anxiety level had more decayed (p=0.01), missing (p=0.048) and filled-in teeth (p=0.0094), as well as a lower DTI score (p=0.0018), as compared with the low anxiety group. The subjects experiencing high dental anxiety acknowledged poor or very poor dental status, yet regarded it as inconsequential in terms of their general health. Conclusions. A higher level of dental anxiety was encountered in the village and small town residents, as compared to the city dwellers. Higher levels of anxiety correlated with poorer dentition and a tendency to postpone dental appointments, mainly due to fear of pain. It is, therefore, postulated that every conceivable effort be undertaken with a view to effectively diminishing anxiety levels in dental patients, especially among the residents of rural areas.

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