Examining the Relationship between Anticipated Pain and Actual Pain Associated with Periodontal Surgery
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Patients cite fear of pain as a reason for avoiding necessary dental treatment. The relationship between expected pain and actual pain, nor the factors that influence actual pain experienced following periodontal surgery have been well characterized. To measure anticipated pain, patients completed a visual analog scale (VAS) prior to surgery and a 7-day diary that included a VAS for actual pain and a record of pain medication and nutritional supplement use. Linear regression was used for statistical analysis. A positive correlation was found between anticipated pain and actual pain. Factors that influenced pain experienced after surgery included anticipated pain, age, sedation during surgery, and number of pain pills used. Patients who anticipated more pain experienced more pain following surgery. Older patients and patients who take less pain pills reported experiencing less pain. Recognizing factors that influence the amount of pain experienced can help practitioners provide appropriate accommodations for patients.