The effect of parental presence on the child’s perception and co-operation during dental treatment
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This was to study the influence of parental presence during dental treatment on children’s behaviour and perception.
Parents of 100 patients (mean age 7 ± 2.2 years) who visited the Postgraduate Paediatric Dental Clinic were randomly divided into two equal groups during one familiarisation and two treatment sessions: (1) parent present in the surgery/operatory and (2) parent absent (with their child observed through a window). Both an independent paediatric dentist and the parent rated the child’s behaviour using the Venham scale. The child’s perception was measured using the Wong-Baker Faces Rating Scale (FPRS) at the end of every session. Statistical analysis was performed with the IBM Statistics SPSS 22.0 (p < 0.05). Comparisons between variables were performed with the Mann–Whitney U, Wilcoxon and Friedman’s tests.
According to the paediatric dentist’s rating, children’s behaviour was worse when the parent was absent, with a significant difference only for the second restorative treatment session (p = 0.011). There was no difference on parents’ rating child behaviour scores between the two groups. There was no difference of children’s own perception between the two groups, except for any increased discomfort found at the second treatment (p = 0.021) when the parent was present. In both groups, the dentist rated lower Venham scores (better child behaviour), than parents did (presence: p = 0.001, absence: p = 0.038). Children recorded worse scores than both parents and the paediatric dentist.
The only significant finding lay in the antithesis of how children perceived their last treatment session and how the dentist rated children’s behaviour regarding parental presence. Parents’ scores of their child’s behaviour were unrelated to parental presence.
KeywordsParental presence Behaviour management Child perception
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Ethics Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later ame.
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