Effect of audiovisual distraction on children's behaviour, anxiety and pain in the dental setting

Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2014 Sep;15(3):297-302.


Aim: To evaluate whether the parental perception of the patient's anxiety, children's anxiety, pain, behaviour and heart rate of paediatric patients improves when an audiovisual technique is used as a distraction method during dental treatment.

Materials and methods: This non-randomised crossover trial was performed with 34 patients aged 6-8 years, who required a minimum of two treatment visits for restorative therapy. During the last visit, the patient was shown a cartoon film.

Results: There was a significant improvement in the global behaviour when children were shown a cartoon film (P < 0.001). A significant increase in heart rate was recorded in both visits (P = 0.0001) when the anaesthetic was injected. A 97% of the sample would like to continue seeing their chosen film during subsequent visits. No statistically significant differences were found (P > 0.05) between the visits in terms of parental perception of the patient's anxiety, or the patient's self-reported anxiety, pain and heart rate.

Conclusions: The use of the audiovisual material used as a method of distraction produces a global improvement in patient behaviour, but not in parental perception of the patient's anxiety, self-reported anxiety, pain or heart rate according to the measurement scales used. This material is also highly accepted by paediatric patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Audiovisual Aids*
  • Cartoons as Topic
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dental Anxiety / classification
  • Dental Anxiety / psychology*
  • Dental Care / psychology
  • Dentist-Patient Relations
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / classification
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Self Report
  • Visual Analog Scale