Identified factors in child-dentist relationship important for the management of dental anxiety in Nigerian children.Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2004 Dec; 5(4):225-32.EJ
To investigate the effects and interrelationship between dental anxiety and dentist's experience, dentist's behaviour, type of treatment received and the behaviour of Nigerian children during treatment.
Pre- and post-dental treatment anxiety levels of 69 child patients, who were attending the dental clinic to receive dental treatment for the first time, were assessed using the DFSS-SF. The dentist's and child's behaviour during treatment procedures were unobtrusively observed and recorded. The pre- treatment anxiety levels were classified as high (HAC) and low (LAC), while those of the dentists who managed the children were categorized as experience or inexperienced. The interrelationship between a child's dental anxiety level, dentist's behaviour during child management, dentist's experience and the type of treatment the child received were analysed.
The anxiety level of the children decreased significantly post-treatment when experienced dentists managed the child in comparison to inexperienced dentists (Z=3.22, p<0.02). The dentist's behaviour did not significantly affect the anxiety level of the child. However, physical contact was used more frequently with HAC than LAC (z=2.27;p<0.023). There was no association between a child's behaviour in the dental chair and their anxiety level (chi(2)=0.08, p<0.93). Also, the more invasive the procedure, the less the tendency for a noted decrease in anxiety level of a child post-treatment, though this was statistically insignificant (z=1.34; p<0.44).
The dentist's behaviour played no role in changing the anxiety level of a child nor did it have any influence on anxiety-related behaviour of a child. However, the experience of the dentist was a very significant factor for effecting a decrease in the dental anxiety level change for children.