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Anxiety is a relevant problem in dental practice. The Visual Analogue Scale for Anxiety (VAS‐A), introduced in dentistry in 1988, has not yet been validated in large series. The aim of this study is to check VAS‐A effectiveness in more than 1000 patients submitted to implantology. The VAS‐A and the Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS) were administered preoperatively to 1114 patients (459 males and 655 females, age 54.7 ± 13.1 years). Statistical analysis was conducted with Pearson correlation coefficient, the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, and McNemar tests. A close correlation between DAS and VAS‐A was found (r  =  0.57, P < .0001); the VAS‐A thresholds of dental anxiety and phobia were 5.1 and 7.0 cm, respectively. Despite a significant concordance of tests in 800 cases (72%), disagreement was found in the remaining 314 cases (28%), and low DAS was associated with high VAS‐A (230 cases) or vice versa (84 cases). Our study confirms that VAS‐A is a simple, sensitive, fast, and reliable tool in dental anxiety assessment. The rate of disagreement between VAS‐A and DAS is probably due to different test sensitivities to different components of dental anxiety. VAS‐A can be used effectively in the assessment of dental patients, using the values of 5.1 cm and 7.0 cm as cutoff values for anxiety and phobia, respectively.

Keywords: Dental anxiety; Dental Anxiety Scale; Visual Analogue Scale; Dentistry; Psychological tests
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Copyright: 2011 by the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology

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eISSN: 1878-7177

ISSN: 0003-3006

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