Background: A recent UK population survey of oral health included questions to assess dental anxiety to provide mean and prevalence estimates of this important psychological construct.
Methods: A two-stage cluster sample was used for the survey across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The survey took place between October-December 2009, and January-April 2010. All interviewers were trained on survey procedures. Within the 7,233 households sampled there were 13,509 adults who were asked to participate in the survey and 11,382 participated (84%).
Results: The scale was reliable and showed some evidence of unidimensionality. Estimated proportion of participants with high dental anxiety (cut-off score = 19) was 11.6%. Percentiles and confidence intervals were presented and can be estimated for individual patients across various age ranges and gender using an on-line tool.
Conclusions: The largest reported data set on the MDAS from a representative UK sample was presented. The
scale’s psychometrics is supportive for the routine assessment of patient dental anxiety to compare against a number of major demographic groups categorised by age and sex. Practitioners within the UK have a resource to estimate the rarity of a particular patient’s level of dental anxiety, with confidence intervals, when using the on-line percentile calculator.
- Dental anxiety, Representative survey, Psychometrics, Percentiles, On-line calculator