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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 107

Psychological perspectives of dental treatment as pertinent to child patient

1 Department of Pediatric Dentistry, NIMS Dental College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Prosthodontics, Shree Bankey Bihari Dental College and Research Centre, Ghaziabad, India
3 Department of Orthodontics, Institute of Dental Studies and Technologies (IDST), Modinagar, Ghaziabad, India

Date of Web Publication8-Aug-2013

Correspondence Address:
Prince Kumar
Department of Prosthodontics, Shree Bankey Bihari Dental College and Research Centre, Masuri, N.H. 24, Ghaziabad
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2155-8213.116344

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How to cite this article:
Mittal R, Sahoo S, Kumar P, Goel M. Psychological perspectives of dental treatment as pertinent to child patient. Dent Hypotheses 2013;4:107

How to cite this URL:
Mittal R, Sahoo S, Kumar P, Goel M. Psychological perspectives of dental treatment as pertinent to child patient. Dent Hypotheses [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 May 31];4:107. Available from:


Pain has a psychological component, which varies according to patient's anxiety and apprehension level. Though, unconscious repressed anger may emerge into consciousness and add to the actual pain. Sometimes, it is the only basis of pain in cases where no physical cause exists. In dental practice, it is experienced that most of the children do not co-operate well with the dentist during dental procedures. Clinicians anecdotally believe that children, who have an invasive dental procedure after the initial clinical visit, often exhibit negative behavior at the future recall visits. Consequently, it becomes very difficult to handle the child patient in the dental operatory. [1] Nevertheless, such difficulties of management are not related mainly with the technical procedures of treatment, but with the different emotional upsets of the child patient. As a fact, most common emotional upsets exhibited in the dental practice are considered as anxiety and fear. However, these emotional distresses may be initiated from past painful experience with dentist. Although, each dentist is conscious of these problems, but their solution is not always a simple matter. This may be attributed to his/her inadequate understanding about the psychology of the child affecting future dental care of an individual, which may become negligible or suboptimal resulting in greater pathology. [2],[3]

Giron was among the initial researchers who literally explored this dilemma and postulated that pediatric patients do not have a choice and are deliberately taken by their parents for the dental treatment. Signs of fear such as crying, refusing to open their mouth, kicking, and throwing up to avoid treatment are major resistance factors shown by them. [4] Dental treatment of a child requires not only technical preparation, but also knowledge of and ability to deal with this phase of development using special management techniques. The refusal of a child to allow the dental treatment, with non-collaborating behavior, associated with limited practical experience of the student, leads to an impasse for all those involved. [5],[6]

We do not entirely comprehend the genesis of anxiety, nervousness, and fears in the practice of pediatric dentistry. However, literature evidenced that this on the basis of ineffective parenting, anxious temperament, pre-existing feeling of insecurity, faulty interpersonal relationship, and arousal of infantile fears and fantasies. This actually led to the imperative role of understanding of the psychological effects of the dental treatment and the mechanism of their development. Undoubtedly, this would result not only in enhanced patient care, but also reduction in inauspicious effects.

  References Top

1.Christen AG. Improving the child's dental behavior through mental rehearsal. Dent Assist 1972;41:44.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Gershen JA. Maternal influence on the behavior patterns of children in the dental situation. Dent Assist 1977;46:17-21.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Gale EN. Fears of the dental situation. J Dent Res 1972;51:964-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Giron MC. Psychological foundations of dental practice. Porto Alegre: Luzzatto DC; 1988.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.White LW. A behavioristic approach to oral hygiene. Am J Orthod 1977;72:406-13.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Mittal R, Sharma M. Assessment of psychological effects of dental treatment on children. Contemp Clin Dent 2012;3:S2-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
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