Article: Volume 43 Number 4 Page 388 - May 2016

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  Dent Update 2016; 43: 388-394

Dental Anxiety:  Adult Dental Anxiety: Recent Assessment Approaches and Psychological Management in a Dental Practice Setting

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Abstract: Dental anxiety of patients is a common feature of the everyday experience of dental practice. This article advocates the use of regular assessment of this psychological construct to assist in patient management. Various tools, such as the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS), are available to monitor dental anxiety that are quick to complete and easy to interpret. Patient burden is low. A new mobile phone assessment system (DENTANX) is being developed for distribution. This application and other psychological interventions are being investigated to assist patients to receive dental care routinely.

Clinical relevance: This article provides evidence and expert opinion on the worth of regular dental anxiety assessment in dental practice using structured tools, such as the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, and consideration of psychological intervention development.

Author notes: Gerry Humphris, PhD, MClinPsychol, CPsychol FRCP(Edin), Medical School, University of St Andrews, James Spyt, BSc, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews, Alice G Herbison, MSc, Blonde Digital Ltd, Thomas W Kelsey, PhD, FRSM, Computer Science, University of St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TF, UK.

Objective: To demonstrate the advantages of using formal assessments of dental anxiety in the practice setting to enhance and develop interventions in routine patient-centred care.

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