The Impact of Virtual Reality Distraction on Pain and Anxiety during Dental Treatment in 4-6 Year-Old Children: a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

J Dent Res Dent Clin Dent Prospects. Fall 2012;6(4):117-24. doi: 10.5681/joddd.2012.025. Epub 2012 Nov 12.


Background and aims: Dental practitioners have numerous methods to control anxiety and pain in children, and distracting the child appears to be the most common technique used for behavior management during dental procedures. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of using virtual reality eyeglasses on severity of pain and anxiety during dental procedures in pediatric patients.

Materials and methods: This study included 120 healthy children aged 4-6 years. Children with no previous anxiety disorder were randomly divided into two groups, each consisting of 60 children. The study consisted of 3 consecutive treatment sessions. During the first visit fluoride therapy was carried out in both groups. In the next sessions, the groups received restorative treatment with and without virtual reality eyeglasses in a randomized single-blind-controlled crossover fashion. Then at the end of each session the subjects' pain severity was assessed using Wong Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale and state anxiety was measured by Faces version of the Modified Child Dental Anxiety Scale [MCDAS (f)].

Results: There was a significant decrease in pain perception (P < 0.001) and state anxiety scores (P < 0.001) with the use of virtual reality eyeglasses during dental treatment.

Conclusion: Results of this study showed that virtual reality eyeglasses can successfully decrease pain perception and state anxiety during dental treatment.

Trial registration number: 201103126036N1.

Keywords: Anxiety; dental treatment; distraction; pain; virtual reality.