Assessing the behavior management problems during the first dental visit of preschool children using a doll placement test

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Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry


Assessing dental anxiety as a predictor of the likely behavior of the child in the dental operatory is of paramount importance for a clinician to render quality care. This study aims to correlate the dental anxiety of preschool children as shown during the doll placement test with that of their behavioral patterns during the first dental visit. Settings and Design: This cross-sectional study was conducted between the ages of 3-7 years. Materials and Methods: During their first dental visit, the background variables were elicited from parent/guardian at the reception desk. Later at the play area, the child was given a set of dolls representing dentist, child, and mother to place them in a model dental office having a dental chair. The child was then taken for the initial oral examination, during which the behavior of the child was rated using Frankl's Behavior Rating Scale. The data collected were analyzed using Chi-square test and binary regression analysis. Results: The observed association between the doll placement pattern and the behavior of the patient during dental treatment was statistically significant (P < 0.001). The binary regression analysis showed that the child's unpleasant previous medical and parent's unpleasant dental experiences had higher odds favoring uncooperative behavior (46.63 and 41.93, respectively). Conclusions: The child's behavior on the dental chair is associated with the doll placement pattern, which is also influenced by experiences of the child during his/her encounter with the medical doctor and previous dental experiences of their parents.

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