Title: 0332 - Sensory Processing and Dental Anxiety in Female Students


Mika Kajita (Presenter)
Kyushu Dental University

Nozomu Harano, Kyushu Dental University
Kentaro Ono, Kyushu Dental University
Seiji Watanabe, Kyushu Dental University


Objectives: Sensory hypersensitivity in daily life is known to be one of the sensory processing disabilities in children with autism. Only one study has reported the connection between sensory hypersensitivity and dental anxiety in children with autism. In this study, we investigated the relationship between sensory processing and dental anxiety in female students and furthermore created an etiological model which demonstrates this relationship.

Methods: The participants included 310 students from the department of Nutrition. We measured dental anxiety using the Dental Fear Survey and sensory processing was measured using the Japanese Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile. Sensory processing patterns were categorized into four quadrants: sensory sensitivity, sensory avoidant, low registration and sensation seeking. The participants answered a total of 197 questions which included questions evaluating already known 14 risk factors which contribute to dental anxiety. The Generalized Estimation Equation (GEE) model was used for multivariate analysis to reveal whether sensory processing patterns were connected to dental anxiety. A hypothetical model for sensory processing and dental anxiety was created using latent variables namely, psychological traits, experiences, sociodemographics, all of which were etiological factors contributing to dental anxiety. The structural equation modeling (SEM) was utilized to test the aforementioned hypothetical model.

Results: Sensory sensitivity and sensory avoidance (low threshold) significantly contributed to dental anxiety after controlling other risk factors (GEE). The modified hypothetical model correlated well with our data (CFI = 0.98, RMSEA = 0.032, SEM). Both the psychological traits factor and the experiences factor correlated with a low threshold sensory processing pattern. Furthermore, low threshold sensory processing significantly contributed to dental anxiety.

Conclusions: Among the female students we surveyed, sensory sensitivity and sensory avoidance contributed to dental anxiety. The new etiological model we constructed may suggest new approaches in the treatment of dental anxiety.

Disclosure Statement:
The submitter must disclose the names of the organizations with which any author have a relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the clinical or research area involved. The following is submitted: NONE