Dental students' attitudes towards management of pain and anxiety during a dental emergency: educational issues

  • Guivarc'H Maud
  • Saliba-Serre Berengere
  • Jacquot Bruno
  • Le Coz Pierre
  • Bukiet Frederic


IntroductionHigh levels of patients' pain and anxiety characterise dental emergencies. The main objective of this study was to examine the self-reported attitudes of dental students towards these parameters in emergency conditions. A secondary objective was to determine if individual parameters (gender, personal experience of dental pain, personal dental anxiety and year of study) might affect their attitudes. MethodsOne-hundred and eighty-seven undergraduate dental students with clinical practice completed a multiple-choice self-administered questionnaire online. The aforesaid individual parameters were collected and the students were asked to rate the frequency of their behaviour towards items representing good management of patients' pain and anxiety. The chi-square test of independence, Fisher's exact test and multiple logistic regression models were used for statistical analysis. ResultsOral assessment of anxiety before treatment was scarce and was significantly associated with the students having personally experienced dental pain (P = 0.007). Pre-, intra- and postoperative pain appeared to be managed unequally by the students. Male students were significantly less likely to inform patients about postoperative pain (P = 0.014). More clinical experience was associated with less systematic consideration for intra-operative pain (P < 0.05). Being dentally anxious showed no significant association with higher frequencies of behaviours towards patients' pain and anxiety. ConclusionsThese findings highlight the need for educational improvement regarding pain and anxiety in emergency conditions, especially concerning the assessment methods and continuity in the control of pain. Emergency dental care appears to be a very suitable field for contextual learning.