OBJECTIVE: The present study aimed to assess preoperative levels of patient anxiety and pain before root canal treatment, and to explore variables that may affect these levels. METHODS: Ninety-five patients presenting for an endodontic visit were recruited for the study. A questionnaire was administered. Visual analog scales were used to record levels of pain and anxiety. Data was tabulated, and analysis was performed using the Pearson Chi-Squire test with continuity correction, and the level of significance was set at 0.05 (P=0.05). RESULTS: Anxiety was detected more frequently in females (60%) than in males (33%) (P=0.016). Sixty-two percent of patients who were waiting for a new treatment were anxious, compared to 39% of those who were returning to continue treatment (P=0.049). Sixty-nine percent of patients in pain reported being anxious (P=0.015). Patients aged 18-30 years reported more pain than those older than 30 years (P=0.023). Forty-three percent of new patients reported being in pain, whereas only 20% of patients returning for a treatment reported pain (P=0.027). CONCLUSION: Anxiety associated with root canal treatment is prevalent, and it was reported primarily by young females who were presenting for a new treatment. Pain and anxiety are highly inter-related, and they are usually reduced after the first endodontic session.
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