Aim: To investigate and compare the levels of dental anxiety (DA) in relation to khat and non-khat chewer subjects of both genders from Jazan subpopulation, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted to assess DA using the modified dental anxiety scale (MDAS). A total of 352 subjects from the city of Jazan who attended dental clinics for regular treatment were recruited for this study. A questionnaire was used to collect the required information, which consisted of three parts. Descriptive statistics including means, standard deviations, and percentages were calculated. Multiple group comparisons were analyzed using Chi-square tests using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) program. p < 0.05 was considered as the significance level.
Results: Among the participants, 75.6% was male, while 71.3% khat chewers, and most of them were male (91.2%). The percentage of the overall mean of MDAS was low; 40% to moderate; 38%, while sever anxiety were present in 4% only. Anxiety related to endodontic treatments represents 33.8% in both genders and 34.3% among the khat chewers, while fear was 42.1% among males and 45.4% among khat chewers. The local anesthesia injection in the gum and tooth drilling items of MDAS were represented by 36.6% for both khat and gender groups and resulted in a fairly and extremely anxious situation during dental treatments. All variables were significantly different.
Conclusion: The overall DA level was low to moderate among the majority of the assessed subjects. Endodontic treatments were the first type of dental treatments for the subjects, while fear of pain was the most common cause of irregular dental visits. Significant differences were detected between khat and non-khat chewers and between genders in relation to anesthesia injection, and drilling of teeth in the MDAS items.
Clinical significance: Community programs focusing on the high DA levels caused by khat chewing might be important in order to minimize the fear of dental treatments and improve and regularize the overall dental treatments.