Study of online information for anxious patients requiring dental extractions

Abstract

Introduction Standard practice for dental extractions is to provide treatment under local anaesthesia (LA) without additional sedation or general anaesthesia. Even in oral surgery departments, the majority of patients receive this anxiety-provoking treatment under LA alone. All patients undergoing extractions could benefit from information on relaxation and anxiety management. This study aims to perform an in-depth analysis of the quality of websites that provide information on dental extractions and anxiety.

Materials and methods Key phrases were searched on Google. The content, reliability and readability of the top ten websites for each key phrase were qualitatively evaluated using three tools: DISCERN, Flesch-Kincaid, and a specialised oral surgery website checklist (OSWC).

Results Patient education was limited, with 70% of websites being either advertisements, forums or articles for healthcare professionals. The majority of websites poorly described treatment such as sedation and only 16% provided methods for relaxation. Readability was poor, with 92% above average UK adult literacy ability.

Conclusion Extraction patients should be signposted to effective resources before treatment or referral. Dental anxiety advice can easily be incorporated into all treatment plans, with recommended website links included in digital communication, such as text messages or practice websites.

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Acknowledgements

The author acknowledges the contribution of work and support of Mrs E.Carson, Research Scientist at James Cook University Australia and the access to the audit conducted by Dr F.Santis, Oral Surgery Speciality Dentist at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

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Correspondence to Victoria Mellish.

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Mellish, V. Study of online information for anxious patients requiring dental extractions. Br Dent J 227, 399–402 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-0669-9

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