Dental Anxiety in Children in Relation to Dental Health

Tomislav Škrinjarić, Jasna Leko, Kristina Goršeta


The aim of the present study was to assess the influence of dental anxiety on children's dental status, and to determine degree of association between mother's anxiety and child's dental anxiety. The study was performed in a sample of 138 pairs of mothers and their children aged 11-12 years. Corah's Dental Anxiety Scale (CDAS) was used to assess degree of anxiety in children and their mothers. DMFT scores, as a measure of dental health, were collected for all children under study. Spearman's rank correlation coefficients (r) were computed to compare degree of association between analysed parameters. The patients were classified in the following groups: 1. low dental anxiety (CDAS = 4-8; N=53), 2. moderate dental anxiety (CDAS = 9-12; N = 45), and 3. high dental anxiety (CDAS = 13-20; N = 40). All children were divided into four groups on the basis of DMFT: caries-free children: DMFT = 0; low caries intensity: DMFT = 1-2; moderate caries intensity: DMFT = 3-4; and high caries intensity: DMFT = 5-10. Children's CDAS score showed significant correlation with DMFT score (r=.3198; P<0.001) and mother's CDAS (r=.3886; P<0.001). Children with high caries intensity displayed significantly higher mean CDAS score (11.81) than caries free children (7.77) (t = 3.63; P < 0.001). The results showed that dental anxiety in children is related to their mother's dental anxiety (r = 0.388, P < 0.001). Highly anxious children display significantly higher DMFT score than children with low anxiety (t = 3.69, P < 0.001). The results show significant association between child’s dental anxiety and dental health. Children with high dental anxiety display significantly higher caries intensity. Mother’s dental anxiety shows significant association with child’s dental anxiety, but not with child’s dental health.


children, dental anxiety, dental health

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