Aim: To assess children and parental attitudes towards dental attire.
Methods: A convenience sample of paediatric dental patients and their parents attending the Paediatric Dentistry Dept. (Leeds, UK). Data was collected using a questionnaire accompanied by a series of photographs of female and male dental students in different modes of attire.
Results: 100 parents with a mean age of 40.4 years (SD+/-8.8) and range 23-60 years, and 100 children with a mean age of 9.8 years (SD+/-3.5) and range 4-16 years responded. Participants preferred females in white coat and mask (15.5%) and white coat (10.5%); males in white coat and mask (11.0%), white coat and glasses (9.0%) and formal shirt (8.5%). Parents significantly preferred formal attire and children informal attire (x2=25.417, p<0.022). Comparing white coat vs paediatric coats, both parents and children ranked white coats in favour of paediatric coats (x2= 1.476, p=0.347). A highly significant difference was found between the male participants who favoured the male dental student and female participants the female dental student (x2= 30.600, p<0.000).
Conclusions: Parents favoured traditional dress as it gives an air of professionalism. Children preferred dental students in casual attire, both children and parents ranked formal white in favour of a paediatric coat. There was a highly significant difference in preference of the participants towards the sex of their dental health care provider, male participants favoured male student and females female students.