Behavior modification techniques are effective in the treatment of extreme dental anxiety, but their success is by no means absolute. In the present article, the Corah Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS), the self-report symptom inventory SCL-90R and a questionnaire accessing subjects' daydreaming styles (the Short Imaginal Process Inventory) were used to develop possible predictive measures for success and failure of behavior modification as a treatment for dental fear. The patients' level of distractibility and mind wandering, initial dental anxiety and somatization significantly predicted the success of therapy. The odds ratio indicated that the risk of therapy failure increased about 11 times with an increase of one scale of the Poor Attention Control Scale, about three times with an increase of one level of the mean DAS score, and 0.17 times with an increase of one level of somatization. The predictive value of the chosen scales was 80%. Thus, the use of these scales as part of an initial admittance process for patients who suffer from dental anxiety can enhance our ability to better recognize patients who are prone to fail behavior therapy as treatment for their problem, and enable their referral for other possible modes of treatment.
- Dental anxiety