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Dental anxiety/fear among children aged 10 to 16 in a dental hospital in Trinidad

Kowlessar A, Roopnarine G, Ramroop V, Balkaran R, Harracksingh A, Naidu R.






Objective: This study aimed to investigate levels of dental anxiety among West Indian children between the ages 10 to 16 years old. Design and Methods: Dental Fear Survey Schedule-short form (DFSS-SF) administered to patients presenting for treatment at UWI School of Dentistry’s Paediatric Emergency Clinic. Subjects were asked to rate anxiety in relation to eight aspects of dental care using a five point Likert scale. A score of 23 and above indicates high levels of anxiety. Results: Over a third of the sample was found to be dentally anxious with 10.7% of the sample having high levels of dental anxiety (DFSS-SF score > 23). The highest mean scores were for having a tooth filled (2.06), and having an injection (3.26) followed by an extraction (3.36). The Mann Whitney U test revealed that there was no statistically significant difference in anxiety scores between the group of patients who attended for emergency procedures and the patients who attended for routine care (U = 1095, p= 0.337). Conclusion: Prevalence of dental anxiety was high in this population in relation to dental extractions and local anaesthesia. Special consideration needs to be given to the management of dentally anxious children in Trinidad and Tobago.



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