Analysis Documents Dental Anxiety Among Migraineurs

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Migraineurs tend to have more anxiety when it comes to dental procedures compared with those without migraine.

Migraineurs suffer a significant difference in anxiety levels regarding dental treatment compared with nonmigraine controls, according to results of a new study. Findings were published in the Journal of Medicine and Life.

Anxiety is a common comorbidity among migraineurs, while dental anxiety is frequently encountered in the practice and can lead to delay or avoidance of dental care, the authors explained.

To better understand the relationship between migraine and dental anxiety, researchers carried out a cross-sectional study among 171 Saudi patients. Of the participants included, 83 suffered from migraine.

Migraineurs were matched to control patients based on age and sex. All participants visited specific dental clinics and filled out a validated questionnaire: the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale – Arabic version. Participant responses ranged from “not anxious” (scoring 1) to “extremely anxious” (scoring 5), the researchers explained.


Responses revealed:

  • The sound of drilling was one of the most vital factors causing anxiety and headaches in migraineurs
  • Comparing the presence or absence of headache and usage of analgesics between the 2 groups, patients with migraine complained to have headaches during or after dental treatment more frequently than controls and used analgesics more than nonmigraine controls
  • There was a statistically significant difference between the groups in respect to feeling anxiety because of the dentist, indicating a difference in the feeling of anxiety attributed to migraine

Based on their findings, the researchers suggested dentists use more quiet hand pieces during dental procedures, while soundproof earplugs may help reduce the potential of headaches among migraineurs.

“The clinics could use more dimmed lighting; also, placing the waiting areas far away from the operating rooms could help to help reduce stress, which helps lower migraine triggers,” they added. “Well-ventilated operating rooms and waiting areas could reduce the smell that usually is a migraine trigger.”

The higher number of females included in the study and that patients were recruited from a single center mark limitations to the analysis.

“There is a significant difference in the anxiety levels of migraine patients regarding dental treatment, and there is a need to include migraine in the history taken prior to treatment procedures and modify the dental work environment accordingly,” the authors concluded.

Future studies should include patients at multiple clinics and focus on including the number of male participants.


Alyami YD, Farran JK, Alsubhi JA, et al. Dental anxiety among migraine patients. J Med Life. 2021;14(4):498-503. doi:10.25122/jml-2021-0004