Self-reported causes for referral to dental treatment under general anaesthesia (DGA): a cross-sectional survey
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To determine causes leading to dental care under general anaesthesia (DGA) in public health care reported by the patients or the parents/caregivers.
All the patients referred to DGA at the Municipal Health Centre, Oulu, Finland, during 10 months were invited to participate in the present cross-sectional survey. They were sent a questionnaire on indications for referral to DGA, dental fear, possible reasons for it as well as prior treatment of dental fear. For measuring overall dental fear, the modified Corah dental anxiety scale (MCDAS) and visual analogue scale (VAS) forms were also included in the questionnaire.
The most common self-reported indication for referral to DGA was dental fear (63.9 %). For children and adolescents (<18 years), need for extensive care was the second most common reported cause. The great majority of the respondents reported having dental fear (90.8 %). Dental fear was more common among females than males, but the difference between the genders was not statistically significant. The most common cause for dental fear was earlier negative experiences in dental care (51.9 %). The mean MCDAS score was 19.0 (SD 5.7; 5–25) indicating severe dental anxiety. An increasing trend towards older age groups could be seen in VAS scores reporting fear of pain, needles, scaling, scolding by the dentist, extractions, as well as endodontic treatment. Dental fear had been taken into consideration in dental treatment preceding DGA.
Dental fear is the most common self-reported indication for referral to DGA and should be taken into consideration.
KeywordsDental fear General anaesthesia DGA
We want to express our thanks to dental assistants Hilkka Säävälä and Anitta Solaranta for their kind help in collecting the questionnaires from the patients. We also want to thank Dr. Leena Niskanen for her valuable comments.
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