Abstract This study evaluated the dental anxiety levels of preschool children at a kindergarten and at a dental clinic. The anxiety levels of ninety 4–6-year-old (4.99 ± 0.81) preschool children were evaluated according to pulse rates, the facial image scale (FIS), the Venham picture test (VPT), and the Frankl behavior rating scale. The children’s mothers were asked to complete the state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI) forms 1 and 2 (STAI 2 and STAI 2). The sample t-test, Mann-Whitney U test, and Pearson’s correlation test were used. A statistically significant difference was observed between the children’s pulse rates when measured at the dental clinic and those when measured at the kindergarten (p < 0.001). Although the results were not statistically significant, more negative facial expressions were observed in the children at the dental clinic than in those at the kindergarten when assessed using FIS and VPT (p = 0.090 and p = 0.108, respectively). There was a statistically significant correlation between the transient anxiety levels (STAI 1) of mothers and the VPT scores of their children evaluated at the dental clinic (r = 0.506, p < 0.001). The continuous anxiety level of the mothers of males was found to be significantly higher (p = 0.033) than that of the mothers of females (STAI 2). Although the children had been informed about dentistry and were introduced to a dentist at the kindergarten, their anxiety levels seemingly increased as they arrived at the dental clinic. The significant increase observed in the children’s pulse rates was a physical indicator that their anxiety levels had increased. It can be concluded that the children felt more anxious at the dental clinic that at the kindergarten.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of the investigation was to test the differences in the perceived level of dental anxiety among children treated restoratively using the Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART) approach, the traditional restorative (TRA) approach and ART aided with a chemomechanical caries removal gel (ART plus). METHODS: The study subjects were 6-7-year-old children. TRA was compared to ART in a clinical setting after children had seen a dentist twice (Group A), ART was compared to 'ART plus' in a clinical setting after children had seen a dentist once (Group B) and ART was applied outside the clinic on school premises (Group C). The treatments were carried out in Class II cavitated dentine lesion in primary molars. Dental anxiety was measured using the Venham Picture Test (VPT). Three-way analysis of variances and interaction was applied to test for treatment approach, gender and operator effects on the mean VPT scores. RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference (p=0.80) observed between the mean VPT scores for the traditional approach and those for the ART approach and between ART with and without a chemomechanical caries removal gel (p=0.07). Children in Group A had lower mean VPT scores than children in Group B (p=0.02) and Group C (p<0.00001) when treated using the ART approach by the same two operators. CONCLUSIONS: The level of dental anxiety was low. There was no difference in level of dental anxiety observed in children treated with ART in comparison to the traditional restorative approach, and between children treated with ART with and without a chemomechanical caries removal gel. The treatment environment and prepatory visits may be factors determining the level of dental anxiety in children treated through the ART approach only.