The Use of Oral Benzodiazepines for the Management of Dental Anxiety: A Web-based Survey of UK Dentists

Kathryn Finn, Deborah Moore, Wendy Thompson, Yvonne Dailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Oral benzodiazepines can facilitate treatment of dentally anxious patients and are widely used in countries such as Australia and the United States. Dentists in the United Kingdom (UK) prescribe them much less often.
Aims To examine oral benzodiazepine prescribing by dentists in the UK, including patterns of practice, barriers to use, and alternative anxiety management strategies.
Methods An online mixed-methods survey was conducted utilising QualtricsTM . Participants were recruited via the Facebook private group: For Dentists, By Dentists during April to June 2021. Quantitative data were analysed with descriptive statistics and qualitative data with thematic analysis.
Results 235 dentists participated, with 91% being general dentists. Only 18% were confident in their use. Half had previously prescribed oral benzodiazepines, of which 36% were in the last year. Diazepam was the anxiolytic preferred by respondents. Two thirds of dentists who had never prescribed anxiolytics were interested in doing so in the future. Concerns about managing anxious patients with benzodiazepines included: inadequate training, confusion about guidelines, medico-legal risk, and issues of GPs prescribing anxiolytics to dental patients unbeknown to their dentist.
Conclusions A lack of confidence prescribing oral benzodiazepines for anxiolysis exists among UK dentists. Guidelines should be clarified, and training provided.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Jan 2023


  • dental
  • anxiety
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Benzodiazepine
  • anxiolysis


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