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Meta-analysis of the correlation between dental anxiety and oral health effect on adults

Sims, Maicel E.
This investigation probes the relationship between dental anxiety and oral health effect on adults through a meta-analysis. The study offers a summary of relevant dental anxiety research and examines the inclusion of articles that contain variables connected to oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL). The research predicts increased dental anxiety is associated with poor levels of OHRQoL and explores levels of bias in included studies. Of 760 articles reviewed related to dental anxiety, 14 articles dated from 2011 to 2023 met inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis and were evaluated along five levels of bias domains. The total sample size across all 14 studies was 17,572, and the ages ranged from 18-84 years old. Results reveal a negative association between dental anxiety and OHRQoL in 11 of the 14 studies; 2 found no association and 1 found both a positive and a negative association. Thus, the hypothesis was supported. Of the studies, 8 contain a low risk of bias, while 6 contain a moderate risk of bias. Research findings benefit dental care professionals who seek to positively impact patients, to offer greater awareness of OHRQoL, and to improve treatments for those suffering with dental anxiety.