Objectives: To assess self-reported dental anxiety (DA) among Kuwaiti adolescents and to test whether different dental anxiety scales are valid for measuring DA in Kuwait. Basic research design: Cross-sectional, structured, anonymous questionnaire survey in Arabic completed at government schools. Participants: 757 pupils aged 13–15 years from three schools filled the questionnaire. Useable response rate was 93.0%. Main measures: DA was assessed by: 1, a single-item dental fear question (DF); 2, the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS); and 3, the Modified Child Dental Anxiety Scale: faces (MCDASf). Results: A third of the girls and 6% of boys reported being very much afraid of visiting a dentist. Use of the drill and injection in the gum were the most anxiety arousing MDAS items; tooth extraction and injection of the MCDASf items. Total mean for MDAS was 11.4 (sd 4.6) and for MCDASf 16.6 (sd 6.5). A tenth of the children were highly dentally anxious when measured by MDAS (score ≥19). Girls reported statistically significantly higher DA scores with all the measures. There was a high correlation between the total score of the MDAS and the total score of the MCDASf (ρ=0.855). Statistically significant relationship (p<0.001) was found between the single-item DF and the total score of the MDAS and a single item and the total score of the MCDASf. Conclusions: A tenth of children were highly dentally anxious; girls reporting higher scores. A single-item dental fear question, MDAS and MCDASf were valid tools for measuring DA among Kuwaiti adolescents.
- Cross-sectional study
- Dental anxiety