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Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry



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Oral Health Prev Dent 17 (2019), No. 1     21. Feb. 2019
Oral Health Prev Dent 17 (2019), No. 1  (21.02.2019)

Page 35-41, doi:10.3290/j.ohpd.a41985, PubMed:30793120

Management of the Dentally Anxious Patient: The Dentist's Perspective
Uziel, Nir / Meyerson, Joseph / Winocur, Ephraim / Nabriski, Omri / Eli, Ilana
Purpose: To evaluate dental anxiety from the dentist's perspective.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed on a convenience sample. Data were gathered using questionnaires that included general information and specific questions concerning dentally anxious patients.
Results: Three hundred ten practicing dentists completed the survey. Participants estimated that 27% of their adolescent/adult patients and 35% of their child patients suffer from dental anxiety. Dentists reported devoting about a quarter of their weekly work hours to treating such patients. The most common anxiety management techniques used for adults and children alike were nitrous oxide and/or behavioural techniques (such as distraction, reinforcement, gradual exposure, and relaxation). Dentists generally agreed that it is their responsibility to help dentally anxious patients. Eighty-one percent expressed interest in taking part in dental anxiety management courses. The consensus was that treating dentally anxious patients involves long treatment times, insufficient payment, and frequent appointment cancellations.
Conclusions: According to practicing dentists, over one-quarter of their patients suffer from dental anxiety. Most dentists perceive themselves as responsible for treating these patients and are willing to receive appropriate training. Incorporating behavioural and pharmacological management techniques in the undergraduate dental curriculum and expanding postgraduate training programmes in this field are important issues that can improve the well-being of both dentally anxious patients and their dentists.

Keywords: dental anxiety, dentist-patient relations, behavioural, management, public health