An exploratory study investigating children's perceptions of dental behavioural management techniques
Davies, E. Bethan
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BACKGROUND: Behaviour management techniques (BMTs) are utilised by dentists to aid children's dental anxiety (DA). Children's perceptions of these have been underexplored, and their feedback could help inform paediatric dentistry.AIM: To explore children's acceptability and perceptions of dental communication and BMTs and to compare these by age, gender, and DA.DESIGN: A total of sixty-two 9- to 11-year-old school children participated in the study. Children's acceptability of BMTs was quantified using a newly developed Likert scale, alongside exploration of children's experiences and perceptions through interviews. anova and t-tests explored BMT acceptability ratings by age, gender, and DA. Thematic analysis was used to analyse interviews.FINDINGS: Statistical analyses showed no effect of age, gender, or DA upon BMT acceptability. Children generally perceived the BMTs as acceptable or neutral; stop signals were the most acceptable, and voice control the least acceptable BMT. Beneficial experiences of distraction and positive reinforcement were common. Children described the positive nature of their dentist's communication and BMT utilisation.CONCLUSION: Dental anxiety did not affect children's perceptions of BMTs. Children were generally positive about dentist's communication and established BMTs. Children's coping styles may impact perceptions and effectiveness of BMTs and should be explored in future investigations.Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons Ltd, BSPD and IAPD.