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Article: Volume 43 Number 9 Page 883 - November 2016

  Dent Update 2016; 43: 883-890  Read article

Dental Anxiety:  Dental Anxiety- Understanding is the Key to Effective Management

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Abstract: Dental anxiety (DA) is a common problem; the latest Adult Dental Health Survey (UK) reported nearly half of the adult population experienced anxiety when visiting the dentist. Given individual differences in the experience of dental anxiety, it is important for the dentist to understand its development, detection and management. This article aims to provide an overview of the main psychological theories to explain the development of dental anxiety (behavioural, psychoanalytical and cognitive), as well as an overview of anxiety detection and management techniques from a psychological perspective.

Clinical relevance: Dental anxiety is a common barrier to oral healthcare, with nearly half of the UK population affected. By understanding its causes, effective management can reduce anxiety, and therefore barriers to achieving high standards of oral health can be overcome.

Author notes: Farooq Ahmed, BDS(Hons), MFDS RCSEdin, MSc, MOrth RCSEng, Post CCST Orthodontics, Barts and the London Dental Hospital, (farooq.ahmed@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk) Imran A Quddus, BDS, MFDS RCSEdin, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Specialty Doctor, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, Lancashire, Mohammad O Sharif, BDS(Hons), MSc, MJDF RCSEng, MOrth RCSEdin, Post CCST Orthodontics, Eastman Dental Institute, London and Khaleel Ahmed, MPH, Medical Student, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

Objective: To understand the causes of dental anxiety to overcome this barrier to achieving high standards of oral health.