Current Pediatric Research

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The relationship between children and caregivers dental anxiety in Brazilian children.

Background: Despite advances in Dentistry, anxiety and fear are common among children and adults, constituting a barrier to dental care. Aim: To assess children’s and caregivers’ fear and anxiety towards dental treatment, identifying the relationship between caregivers’ dental history and their perception of their children’s fear/anxiety. Methods: Cross-sectional, descriptive and analytical study in a university dental clinic. Socio-demographic questionnaire, the Children’s Fears Survey Schedule-Dental Sub-scale and Venham Picture Test were used for data collection. Results: 115 pairs of children/caregivers participated. 14 caregivers (12.2%) and 10 children (8.7%) presented fear/anxiety. Children (age 7.9 ± 1.7 years) fear/anxiety related to doctors and dentists were similar. There was no relationship between gender, age, previous dental experience or socio-economic status and children’s dental fear/anxiety. Correlation (r=0.409; p<0.001) was found between caregivers’ perception of their children’s fear/anxiety and the dental fear/anxiety self-reported by children. This relationship was not strong, and other factors should be considered. Caregivers do not project their dental fear/anxiety onto their children but they are able to predict their dental fear/anxiety. Conclusion: Caregivers’ fears do not interfere with their perception of their children’s fear/ anxiety, and they do not project their fears onto their children. However, they can predict their child fear and anxiety towards dental treatment.

Author(s): Raisa Lima Silva, Diego Gibson Praxedes Martins, Maria Vieira de Lima Saintrain, Karine Magalhaes Fernandes Vieira, Anya Pimentel Gomes Fernandes Vieira-Meyer