Although there are several appropriate methods to evaluate a patient’s dental anxiety, it remains difficult for dentists to judge the degree of the fear or phobia before the first treatment, to enable them to communicate with the patient accordingly. This would be the only way to plan a dental therapy which takes into account the extent of the anxiety.
There is a general consensus about the fact that the recording of fear of adult patients should be done preferably by a questionnaire before and during the dental treatment situation, because the validity and the reliability of questionnaires is very high. However, different examinations prove that men do not always answer the question about their dental anxiety honestly, because these patients are more ashamed of their fear.
According to their social role, people who are examined by subjective-verbal fear indicators tend to give answers that are socially desired („men know no fear“). The treating dentist may underestimate the patient’s fear. Still there are sure signs which indicate that the patient is tense and stressed. Physiological manifestations like sweaty palms and sweat on the forehead or the upper lip, sometimes the behaviour or the facial expression tells us the level strain the patient is really experiencing. Hence, it is all-important that you answer the questionnaire honestly.
In addition, within the scope of another examination of 91 patients who suffered from dental phobia, it was noted that a score of more than 38, measured with the HAF and the avoidance of a visit to the dentist for the last few years, are a clear sign for the presence of a phobia. The lack of restoration and an increased number of extractions in the past (mostly done under general anaesthesia) can also be an indication for the presence of an anxiety disorder.