Fear and Anxiety in Patients Seeking Dental Care in the Makkah Region of Saudi Arabia
Introduction: Anxiety toward dental procedures is a challenge to manage and causes patients to avoid dental treatment. Aim: to identify factors influencing dental fear and anxiety (DFA) and investigate factors reducing DFA among Saudi adult patients in the Makkah region of Saudi Arabia. Methods: Electronic surveys were sent to patients aged 18 years and older. The questionnaire was composed of five sections related to patients’ demographics, fear levels of different dental procedures, factors that may reduce fear and a DASS-21 scale to estimate the DFA score. A chi-square test was performed to compare DFA levels of patients in terms of age, sex, and education level. Results: Of 631 respondents, 77.3% were females (n=143) and 22.7% were males (n=143). The mean age of the participants was 33 years (SD ± 13.78). The participants reported tooth extraction to be the most fearful procedure (53.1%, n=335), and tooth drilling found the least fearful procedure (37.4%). Participants with a university degree (69.6%) demonstrated high DFA in terms of depression, anxiety and stress (p-value <0.07, <0.06, <0.01) compared to participants with lower educational levels. Anxiety was significantly associated with participants younger than age 40 (p-value <0.05). The participants agreed that a good reputation and attitude of the dentist, as well as good ambience and hygiene of the clinic, helped reduce DFA. Conclusion: DFA was more noticeable in young age groups and highly educated individuals. It is recommended to take a thorough mental health history for patients because mental health is correlated with DFA. Moreover, further studies should focus on the psychological aspects of dental treatment.