Background: Oral and Maxillofacial operations can be extremely frightening treatment situations. General data on this phenomenon should be acquired through a multi-centre trial. Method: A 10-page questionnaire was developed which was answered by 600 oral and maxillofacial patients before individual treatment. Control groups consisted of 800 surgical, dental and general practitioners/internal medicine patients. Twenty six medical practices and hospital departments in 11 German cities were involved in the trial. Results: Both subjective anxiety assessment by patients and objective testing (State Trait Anxiety Inventory; STAI) indicated a high level of treatment anxiety for oral and maxillofacial treatment situations. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) patients' scores were significantly higher than those of control groups. Especially younger and female patients, patients treated under local anaesthesia and out-patients showed intensive anxiety. Previous treatment experience in OMFS did not modify test results. Conclusion: Managing perioperative anxiety is still a major challenge in OMFS. Irrespective of technical, pharmacological and surgical advances, developing and establishing stress-reducing and anxiolytic perioperative techniques is of considerable importance for both patients and surgeons.