Dental anxiety distresses children and their families with consequent poor oral health and costly pediatric dental services. Children’s behaviors could be modified using a distraction technique for improved dental treatment. The study evaluates the effects of an audio-visual distraction on children’s behaviors and pain expressions during dental treatment.
One hundred healthy children, between 4 and 6 years of age, were randomly assigned to one of two groups: audio visual distraction (AVD, N = 61) group and control (CTR, N = 39) group. The pre and post pain expression was collected using a faces pain rating scale from the participated children. Children’s behavior was evaluated using the Frankl behavior rating scale by the assigned dentist. Data was analyzed using chi-squared tests and analysis of variance.
The AVD group demonstrated more “definitely positive” behavior (91.8%) compared to the CTR group (35.9%) based on the Frankl scale evaluation from pre- and post-treatment (p < 0.0001). The pain rating scale did not demonstrate a significant difference in post-treatment pain scales (p = 0.2073) or changes in pain (p = 0.1532) between the AVD group and CTR group.
The AVD is an effective distraction tool for young children during dental treatment regardless of child’s subjective pain expression.