An article (in press at the time of writing this -2012) appears in the International Journal of Oral and Maxilofacial Surgery titled “Does planned intravenous sedation affect preoperative anxiety in patients?” by M. Seto, Y. Sakamoto, H. Takahashi, R. Kita, and T. Kikuta.
The authors set out to evaluate The Spielberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) which can be used to evaluate levels of state and trait anxiety. State anxiety is defined as a subjective feeling of nervousness, whereas trait anxiety is defined as an individual’s underlying tendency to perceive a situation as stressful or threatening. One hundred and eleven (111) Japanese patients who were scheduled to have wisdom teeth extracted under local anesthesia were evaluated. STAI evaluates the degree anxiety based on 5 stages.
The article states
“The authors assessed preoperative anxiety using STAI at the initial visit and recommended intravenous sedation for patients whose level of state anxiety was above stage IV. They also recommended the sedation procedure to patients who anticipated high surgical invasion.”
The article further states
“The level of dental anxiety is considered to have a strong influence on the development of complications such as tachycardia, fluctuations in blood pressure, and vasovagal reactions. Intravenous sedation is useful for promoting safe and comfortable dental surgery in patients with high anxiety levels.”
The authors conclude
“… that the planning of intravenous sedation for patients with high anxiety levels, as assessed by STAI, is an effective method for the safe management of the perioperative period without aggravating anxiety just before surgery.”
If you are interested in learning more about the study design then read the article.