The anxiety experienced by some patients before or during dental visits poses a problem for patients and the dental practitioners alike. Some people consider them a stressful experience which manifests itself as anxiety, fear and even phobia and results in avoidance of proper dental care. The dental anxiety, dental fear and dental phobia stand out against the background of general anxiety.
The aim of the present study was to investigate dental anxiety in Bulgaria by means of a self-assessment scale.
Material and methods: The self-assessment Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS), developed by N Corah, was used in the form of a questionnaire containing questions about the gender, age, education and occupation of respondents. Subjects were 746 adults aged 18-82 years living in urban areas. Individual and group interviews were conducted directly with them.
Results: The respondents with moderate dental anxiety were the most of all subjects (35.5%, DAS score: 9-12 points), followed by the anxiety-free subjects (34.6%, 4-8 points). The third most numerous group was the high anxiety group (18.2%, 13-14 points), followed by the subjects with severe anxiety (11.7%, 15-20 points). The mean score was 10.26±0.14. We found a statistically significant correlation between anxiety, age (P < 0.05), education (P < 0.05) and type of labour (manual or mental labour) (P < 0.01). No significant difference was found between anxiety and sex (P > 0.05).
Conclusions: The percentage of people scoring high on dental anxiety (DAS 13-20) in Bulgaria (29.9%) is considerably higher than that in some European and North American countries. The present study is the first in Bulgaria on dental anxiety. Further studies are needed to reveal other factors related to dental anxiety.
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