[Fear of dental treatment among children. Influence of experience and psychological functioning].


This research considers whether fear of dental treatment among children is linked with a prior (negative) experience with local anaesthesia or with psychological functioning. Furthermore, the study investigated whether these factors play a role in anxious behaviour before and during a local anaesthetic injection. In this study 128 children between the ages of 4 and 11 took part. With the help of video recordings, the anxious behaviour before and during the local anaesthetic injection was scored using the Venham-scale. During the treatment one of the child's parents or guardians was asked if the child had previously been given a local anaesthetic injection (experience). The fear of dental treatment and the child's psychological functioning were measured using the parents' version of the 'Dental Subscale' of the 'Children's Fear Survey Schedule' and the 'Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire' respectively. Results showed a correlation between on one hand fear of dental treatment and on the other hand anxious behaviour before and during a local anaesthetic injection and psychological functioning. Furthermore, results indicated that children with fear of dental treatment exhibited more fearful behaviour before and during an injection with local anaesthetic. Only in the case of children whose psychological functioning was reduced there was a significant relationship between experience with local anaesthesia and fearful behaviour prior to the injection of a local anaesthetic.