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Fear and anxiety in patients undergoing minor oral surgery
Objective: This study was carried out to determine the causes of fear and anxiety in consecutive patients who attended the University of Benin Teaching Hospital for minor oral surgical treatment.
Method: All consenting consecutive patients referred for minor oral surgery were studied. Information on all the patients was entered into a pre-designed data form. The treatment procedures were carefully explained to the patients in English, \'Pidgin\' English, and the local languages of the patients. The patients were interviewed before and after treatment with regard to fear and anxiety relating to the treatment procedure.
Results: One hundred and fifty patients aged 18-85 years, (mean age 33.4 years) were studied. Fifty-eight percent and Forty-two percent of the patients reported being anxious and fearful respectively, about the treatment they were about to receive. More patients (40.3%) feared the dental nurse than the needle. More females (36.4%) were anxious about treatment than males (20.1%). The patients in the age range of 21-30 years (32.6%) expressed fear and anxiety more than the other age groups. About half of the patients that attended for exodontia expressed more anxiety about treatment. Less than one half of the patients (44.2%) thought their fears were justified after treatment. Verbal communication allayed fear and anxiety in 70.8% of the patients studied.
Conclusions: Fear and anxiety about what will happen to the patient\'s teeth are barriers identified in this study for undertaking of minor oral surgical procedures at the centre. This study reinforces the need for verbal communication as an effective means of allaying the patient\'s fear and anxiety before treatment
Keywords: Fear, anxiety, minor oral surgery
Nigerian Dental Journal Vol. 15 (2) 2007: pp. 71-74