Published on

Child-led research reveals how children manage their anxiety going to the dentist.

A child-led study by Queen Mary, University of London has challenged the common perception that children fear a trip to the dentist.

The research shows that even the most anxious child can cope well with their feelings if they are treated with honesty.

Following the research project, academics from Queen Mary’s Drama department and the Institute of Dentistry are now encouraging parents and dentists to be honest with children about what their time in the dental chair will involve.

The researchers engaged with pupils aged nine and 10 years-old from Osmani Primary School in east London in the ‘Do I have to go Project’ using innovative drama techniques developed by Queen Mary senior drama lecturer Alistair Campbell.

Dr Ben Roberts and Professor Ferranti Wong, and students, all from the Institute of Dentistry, were able to get the pupils to express themselves through performance and games as well as using real-life dentistry equipment to recreate a visit to the dentist.

As part of the project, the schoolchildren redesigned a universal medical questionnaire for anxiety, reducing the standard eight questions down to five adding in a section to draw pictures. They then used this new questionnaire to survey 100 of their fellow classmates to find out about their own personal experiences of going, or not going, to the dentist.

But far from fearing going to the dentist as many would expect, the majority of the youngsters expressed the fact that they didn’t mind going for check ups and they understood the reasons why they should go.

Alistair Campbell, said: ‘We wanted to find out why some children don’t go to the dentist. What surprised us was how the children we worked with emphasised that they were not ‘stupid’ and they knew they had to go to the dentist, but they didn’t want their parents to pretend to them that it wouldn’t hurt or that the mouthwash tastes nice just because it is coloured pink. They just wanted them to be honest. In fact during the drama role play we discovered that it was often the adult/parent that transferred their anxiety of going to the dentist onto their child.’

Professor Wong added: “One pupil actually said “I’m scared, it really hurts” but admitted they had actually never been to the dentist. It is clear that this is more about communication. The dentist and the adult have a responsibility to communicate to the child. Be honest and explain that the procedures may be uncomfortable. It is important that children are encouraged to go to the dentist and it’s essential that they learn about oral and dental hygiene at an early age. The key message is tell, show, do and most importantly be honest and don’t lie.”


Tags: , , ,

Recent news articles

Free Teeth Straightening Guide
Free Teeth Straightening Guide

Published on 14th March 2018

Would you like to learn more about Short Term Orthodontics and the various treatment options that are available? We have a simple “Free Teeth Straightening…

FHDC Dentists in Leeds Logo
IMPORTANT: Traffic Disruption 6 March 2018

Published on 8th March 2018

Latest Update: The practice is now open (well done Georgette for first one to get there). The rest of the team are on the way…

FHDC Dentist Car Park in Snow
FHDC is open despite the snow… But call to confirm

Published on 1st March 2018

We are still open despite the bad weather. Our opening hours might change slightly so it’s best to call on 0113 275 1323 to double…

Good Luck to Megan

Published on 16th February 2018

Everyone at FHDC would like to wish Megan all the very best for the future in her new role as Office Manager at the University…

Dental Veneers are a popular dental treatment
Focus on Dental Veneers

Published on 6th February 2018

Dental Veneers are now one of the most requested services at our Leeds based dental clinic. What are Dental Veneers you might be asking? Well…

Beware of rogue teeth whitening
Beware of Illegal Teeth Whitening

Published on 6th February 2018

A recent BBC report warns people to be aware of illegal tooth whitening after a number of beauticians have been found performing illegal teeth whitening…

Subscribe for news and offers...