Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


A Practical Dental Anxiety Scale Predicts Oral Health and Pursuit of Root Canal Treatment

Event Title

American Association of Endodontics Annual Meeting 2021

Event Location


Document Type


Presentation Date


Date Range

2021-04-21 to 2021-04-24


Objectives: The two aims were to examine the predictive validity of the new Dental Anxiety Triggers Scale (DATS) as compared to the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS), using objective measures of oral health and to evaluate the two scales’ ability to predict willingness to undergo root canal treatment (RCT) after reading one of two descriptions of RCT. Methods: For Aim-1, the DATS and MDAS were administered to patients onsite and their radiographs were evaluated to determine Decayed Missing Filled Teeth (DMFT), Filled or Sound Teeth (FS-T), and Root Canal Treated Teeth (RCTT). For Aim-2, online participants responded to DATS and MDAS, read one of two descriptions of RCT – one about its biological basis, the other about saving teeth, consistent with AAE’s “Worth Saving” campaign – and, finally, self-reported how likely they would be to proceed with RCT. The statistical analyses used were Pearson correlation for Aim-1 and linear regression for Aim-2. Results: Preliminary results of Aim-1 (N = 18) showed that the DATS predicts FS-T (r = -.22) and RCTT (r = -0.27) better than the MDAS (rs -.16 and r = -.24, respectively). In Aim-2 (N = 246), more anxious people were more likely to pursue RCT when they read the biological explanation, but there was no predictive effect of anxiety on likelihood to pursue endodontic treatment when they read the “Worth Saving” explanation. The DATS predicted likelihood of pursing treatment better than MDAS (βs .20 and .18). The DATS is superior to the MDAS at predicting FS-T, RCTT, and the likelihood of pursuing RCT.