What are the factors that create a positive dental experience for children?
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Citation:Richards, K. (2019). What are the factors that create a positive dental experience for children? (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Health Science). Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), New Zealand. https://hdl.handle.net/10652/6058
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/6058
Objective: To conduct a systematic literature review on the current literature concerning the factors that create a positive experience and are equally effective in reducing dental anxiety for children visiting the dental clinic. The focus was on evaluating what techniques and strategies influence a positive experience for our children. Method: The study reviewed international peer-reviewed research articles published between 2000 and 2019 in English, which focused on identifying interventions for children older than five years of age, for children visiting a dental clinic. The outcome of this analysis identified factors and techniques which have been adopted and evaluated to have a positive influence on a child’s dental experience during routine dental treatment. Studies were retrieved from the PubMed library. Results: The study identifies key factors that influence the dental experience for children, namely multimedia, colour, parental presence/absence, noise in the dental operatory and animal-assisted therapy. The search yielded one hundred and eighty-three studies, of which eleven were considered eligible based on a comprehensive evaluation of these studies based on specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. The included studies produced a mix of techniques and strategies that have been shown to influence the dental experience for children. The role of non-pharmacological interventions and their application to dental treatment has provided varying results in seeking what determines a positive dental experience for children. Five studies were significantly associated with a positive experience. A range of pre-treatment interventions such as animal-assisted therapy and anxiety level evaluation survey were found to have a significant effect on the child’s dental experience, however, parental presence/absence technique was not found superior to improving child dental anxiety to other nonpharmacological behaviour management techniques in the dental operatory. Conclusion: The studies identified a wide range of different interventions resulting in varying outcomes. However, this systematic review highlights and identifies, that there was relatively little application of innovative and new approaches utilising digital technology. Other than audio visual eyewear, there were no other examples of digital or mobile technology used to create a positive experience. This lack of innovation was somewhat surprising and it highlights a significant opportunity for future exploration.