Assessment of the Feelings and Attitude of the Children Towards the Dentist
Author(s): Keerthana R and Ganesh Jeevanadan*
Dental anxiety and fear of dental treatment in children are recognized in many countries as a public health dilemma. The aim of the study was to assess the feelings and attitudes of children toward their dentists. Data were obtained from a sample of children using a questionnaire. The study group comprised children aged 6–12 years attending the Department of Pedodontics in a private dental college. The questionnaire was administered to 200 children, comprising 98 girls and 102 boys. The questionnaire was designed to assess children’s perceptions of their dentists. The subjects were asked if they had visited the dentist before and if there were any physicians in the family. They were also asked to describe the attitudes of siblings regarding dental visits. In addition, each child was asked to choose pictures that indicated their preference regarding dentist gender, attire, and protective equipment, and the design of the dental clinic. The questionnaire data were coded and entered into IBM SPSS for statistical analysis. Descriptive and analytic approaches were used in the data analysis. The chi-square test determines the relationship among variables. In our study we found out that most of the patients did not have a previous dental experience (49%) and among the 49% patients, most of them liked their experience. (55.1%) with majority being female patients (30.6%) and there was no statistical significance (=0.440). It was also found that most of the patients did not have a physician in the family. (83.5%) Most of the patients’ siblings liked their previous dental experience. (55%) Male dentists (72%) were the most preferred one regardless of the patient's gender and the results were statistically significant.(p=0.000) White coats were preferred by male patients (43%) and colour coats were preferred by the female patients (25.5%) and the results were statistically significant. (p=0.000) Dentists wearing elightful masks were the most common preference of the patients. (67%) Within the limits of the study, it was found that most of the patients liked their first visit to the dentist in which most were female patients and there was no statistically significant association. Most of the patients preferred to be treated by a male dentist, regardless of the child’s gender and a statistically significant association was seen. Most of the male patients preferred white coats and most of the female patients preferred colour coats and a statistically significant association was seen.