23, Jul, 2024
Dental Anxiety Scale: How it Help Dentists and Patients Find Solutions

Dental Anxiety Scale: How it Help Dentists and Patients Find Solutions

afraid dental patient

A lot of people have dental anxiety. Children and adults both experience dental anxiety, and that’s quite common in all genders as well. Some people feel more comfortable with female dentists, like this dental team in Double Bay frequently notices in their patients. Dentists use a dental anxiety scale to measure the anxiety levels of their patients. The results are ranging from not anxious to extremely anxious and differ with age.

Fortunately, clinics always try to find a way to make their patients comfortable. The results from the anxiety scale help them identify the severity of the anxiousness of their patients and use it as an advantage to manage their fear.

Some patients fear needles some othes fear the loud machinery like handpiece etc. You can check out CattaniCompressors.com.au and see how dental compressors nowadays have become less noisy.



Corah’s Dental Anxiety Scale

patient with dental anxietyAmong all the dentists’ assessment tools, Corah’s dental anxiety scale is probably the most popular. This anxiety test is made of several questions aiming to get an individual’s most genuine answer. The answers will help the dentist determine the possible triggers of dental anxiety and come up with the best solution to manage it.


A Brief History

Dr. Norman L. Corah developed the scale in 1969. The dental fear survey contains four questions with a series of choices for the patient to select. Each answer to each question is equivalent to a certain score. The total score will determine the level of anxiety the patient has. A scale ranging from 9 to 12 is an indication of moderate anxiety that is quite easy to manage. Meanwhile, a scale ranging from 15 and goes high up to 20 suggested that the person is extremely anxious about the dental appointment. In high anxiety levels like this, dentists usually find out that a phobia is somehow related to dental anxiety.

Moreover, in 1993, Corah’s dental anxiety scale was modified. It is now known as the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale or MDAS. MDAS did not change anything about the original questions of the survey; it was just modified by adding a second assessment. The added assessment helped dental professionals determine the procedures or treatments that might have caused the anxiety. It comprises 26 factors with four choices of answers: low, medium, high, and don’t know.

Furthermore, there are a lot of things in a dental clinic that might trigger anxiety. For instance, the sound of a drilling machine might make a person anxious and nervous. Even the scent of the clinic and the clothes worn by the dental professionals could trigger anxiousness.


The Four Questions

The dental anxiety scale questions are:

  1. If you have a dental appointment tomorrow, how will you feel?
  2. While waiting for your turn in the dental clinic, how would you feel?
  3. When sitting on the dental chair waiting for your dentist to prepare the drilling equipment, how do you feel?
  4. Imagine yourself sitting on a dental chair waiting for the dentist to prepare the tools needed for teeth cleaning. How do you feel?



Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS)

The modified dental anxiety scale was developed in 1995 by Professor Gerry Humphris. It was specifically made based on the questions of Corah’s survey and made minimal changes and significant improvements to the actual questionnaire. While the questions were retained, he used simpler wordings to make it more understandable, even for children. Eventually, he added another question about needles, one of the most common fears in the medical field.


dentist and patient smilingNowadays, dentists prefer to use MDAS more than Corah’s dental anxiety scale. Why? Because this survey carries more accurate results and is easier to answer due to its simplified form. However, your dentist may use whatever Corah’s or MDAS. Anyway, the results will most likely be the same.



Not all dentists use the scale to measure the fear levels of an anxious patient. On the contrary, not all dental patients need to take the survey as not everyone are afraid of dental procedures. However, the scale is most useful if you are afraid to speak out and share why you are extremely anxious about your appointment. MDAS is also a helpful tool to help your dentist decide which kind of anesthetic is best for you.






What is a Dental Anxiety Scale? (https://www.dentalbrothers.com/what-is-a-dental-anxiety-scale/)