European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 341–347 | Cite as

Dentists’ self-perceived stress and difficulties when performing restorative treatment in children

  • A. RønnebergEmail author
  • K. Strøm
  • A. B. Skaare
  • T. Willumsen
  • I. Espelid
Original Scientific Article



This was to explore factors associated with dentists’ difficulties doing restorative treatment in children, in particular (1) stress, (2) clinical experience, (3) use of conscious sedation, and (4) use of local analgesia.


A precoded questionnaire (QuestBack) was sent electronically to all dentists working in the Public Dental Service (PDS) in eight counties in Norway. Chi-square statistics, McNemar’s test and bivariate logistic regression analyses were used.


A total of 611 dentists received the questionnaire and 391 (65 %) returned the completed form. Self-reported stress was most frequent among dentists when treating patients aged 3–5 years and was statistically significantly associated with the dentists’ self-reported difficulties doing restorative treatment. Among dentists with ≤10 years experience about 60 % reported stress treating the youngest patients compared with 44 % among the more experienced dentists. Self-perceived stress and working experience was not associated with use of local analgesia and sedation.


The frequency of self-perceived stress among dentists when undertaking restorative treatment decreased with increasing patient age from 3 to 18 years. When treating preschool children, a small group of dentists frequently or always experienced this as stressful work. The use of local analgesia or conscious sedation was not related to dentists’ stress. Dentists reported less frequently use of local analgesia and conscious sedation in children younger than 10 years. Undergraduate and continuous education and support in the use of local analgesia and conscious sedation is essential to provide optimal dental care for this patient group.


Children Dental anxiety Dentist–patient relations Self-assessment Behavioural management 



The authors would like to thank dentists in the Public Dental Service in the counties of Finnmark, Nordland, Sør-Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal, Hordaland, Vest-Agder, Hedmark and Oslo for their contributions to the study.


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Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Rønneberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. Strøm
    • 1
  • A. B. Skaare
    • 1
  • T. Willumsen
    • 1
  • I. Espelid
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Paediatric Dentistry and Behavioural Science, Institute of Clinical Dentistry, Faculty of DentistryUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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