Evaluation of children's dental anxiety levels at a kindergarten and at a dental clinic

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Kilinc G., Akay A., EDEN E. , Sevinc N., Ellidokuz H.

BRAZILIAN ORAL RESEARCH, vol.30, no.1, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier


This study evaluated the dental anxiety levels of preschool children at a kindergarten and at a dental clinic. The anxiety levels of ninety 4-6-year-old (4.99 +/- 0.81) preschool children were evaluated according to pulse rates, the facial image scale (FIS), the Venham picture test (VPT), and the Frankl behavior rating scale. The children's mothers were asked to complete the state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI) forms 1 and 2 (STAI 2 and STAI 2). The sample t-test, Mann-Whitney U test, and Pearson's correlation test were used. A statistically significant difference was observed between the children's pulse rates when measured at the dental clinic and those when measured at the kindergarten (p < 0.001). Although the results were not statistically significant, more negative facial expressions were observed in the children at the dental clinic than in those at the kindergarten when assessed using FIS and VPT (p = 0.090 and p = 0.108, respectively). There was a statistically significant correlation between the transient anxiety levels (STAI 1) of mothers and the VPT scores of their children evaluated at the dental clinic (r = 0.506, p < 0.001). The continuous anxiety level of the mothers of males was found to be significantly higher (p = 0.033) than that of the mothers of females (STAI 2). Although the children had been informed about dentistry and were introduced to a dentist at the kindergarten, their anxiety levels seemingly increased as they arrived at the dental clinic. The significant increase observed in the children's pulse rates was a physical indicator that their anxiety levels had increased. It can be concluded that the children felt more anxious at the dental clinic that at the kindergarten.