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Dental anxiety, psychiatry and dental treatment: How are they linked?

Author(s): Salvatore Settineri | Domenico Mallamace | Maria Rosaria A. Muscatello | Rocco Zoccali | Carmela Mento

Journal: Open Journal of Psychiatry
ISSN 2161-7325

Volume: 03;
Issue: 01;
Start page: 168;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Dental Anxiety | Fears | Psychiatric Comorbidity

Background: The autonomy of dental anxiety may be compared with other psychopathologies, however, it is classified as indicative of a specific phobia. It is interesting to know how dental anxiety operates within a wider context. Material and Method: The group was made by 514 subjects, recruited from several dental surgeries. The entire process, consisted in self-compilation of the Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS), and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). The software used for statistical calculations was the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16.0. The chi-square test was used for the distribution of the nominal variables. Results: The analysis of data revealed a significantly different distribution between high and low levels of dental anxiety and comorbidity in relation to only one diagnostic category, namely mood disorders. Dental fears and comorbidity were mostly in line with our expectations, except about fear of needles with eating disorders. Dental anxiety is to be considered as a dimension on a par with other psychopathologies. Conclusions: The study of comorbidity between mood disorders and dental anxiety, suggests that dental anxiety rather than belonging to the family of anxiety disorders would be better classified along with mood disorders. The findings regarding emotional inducers (fears) in relation to the distribution of psychopathology are worth noting. The above observations reaffirm the need to form links between dentistry and psychiatry.

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