Thermography and Dental Anxiety in Oral Surgery.

Thermography and Dental Anxiety in Oral Surgery.

16/01/2024 Home

Dental anxiety can be considered as an emotional state of concern or apprehension in anticipation of dental treatment. Some authors have cited it as the fifth most common cause of anxiety, and it is estimated that dental anxiety or fear affects approximately 36% of the population, with an additional 12% suffering from extreme dental fear.

Preoperative identification is crucial to avoid complications and improve satisfaction for both patients and dentists. This point can be of great utility, as underestimating a patient’s apprehension can affect the correct and/or complete execution of the treatment, leading to dissatisfaction for both patients and dentists.

Traditionally, subjective methods such as questionnaires and objective methods like physiological measurements have been used to detect dental anxiety. However, these methods have limitations in terms of time and bias. Thermography, a contactless imaging technique already used in medicine, is proposed as an alternative for identifying dental anxiety. This technique has proven effective in detecting physiological abnormalities and has been used in dentistry to evaluate patients with orofacial pain and monitor changes in bone temperature.

A study investigated the application of thermography to identify dental anxiety in oral surgery, and the results are presented below.

Study on Dental Anxiety:

Sixty participants aged between 18 and 80 were included in the study and divided into three groups based on their dental anxiety measured by the MDAS questionnaire. Using the InfraSensing platform, facial temperature changes were recorded with two thermal imaging sensors. The recordings were made in a controlled environment, divided into two steps: BASELINE and VISIT. Five facial regions were considered for analysis, and temperature differences were classified to identify levels of dental anxiety (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Regions of Interest (ROI).

The results provide a comparison between thermography and MDAS in identifying dental anxiety. Statistically significant changes in facial temperature were observed in the nose and ear areas during the visit. Additionally, there were correlations between temperature differences in these areas and MDAS scores. Thermal images from the baseline and visit showed more significant changes in patients with high dental anxiety, as seen in Figures 2 and 3:

Figure 2. Patient with low dental anxiety. Thermal images show a smaller temperature change, corresponding to a patient with a low score on the MDAS questionnaire.

Figure 3. Patient with high dental anxiety. Colors between the two thermal records change significantly, corresponding to a patient with a high score on the MDAS questionnaire.

Early identification of dental anxiety can improve the intervention of the dentist/professional, reducing patient stress and being of special interest to their health and well-being. The article concludes that thermography has good capabilities in objectively identifying and quantifying the presence of dental anxiety. Therefore, it can be considered an innovative approach for early detection and treatment of dental anxiety..


  • According to the results of the article, thermography appears to be a tool to improve the health and well-being of patients, standing out for being non-invasive (without any contact with the patient).
  • The presented article is another example of the various applications that thermography can have.
  • It is worth noting that further research on this topic seems necessary—considering other factors, variables, or using cameras with higher resolution and precision, etc.


Gasparro, R., Leonetti, G., Riccio, M., Irace, A., Sammartino, G., Blasi, A., … & Marenzi, G. (2021). Thermography as a method to detect dental anxiety in oral surgery. Applied Sciences, 11(12), 5421.

Europa Thermohuman ThermoHuman has had the support of the Funds of the European Union and the Community of Madrid through the Operational Programme on Youth Employment. Likewise, ThermoHuman within the framework of the Export Initiation Program of ICEX NEXT, had the support of ICEX and the co-financing of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

CDTI Thermohuman has received funding from the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), in participation with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for the R+D activities involved in creating a new tool, based on thermography, for the prediction and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis. See project detail.