Perception of dental care among children


  • Cláudia Lobelli Rangel Gomes Universidade Estadual de Campinas
  • Manoelito Ferreira Silva-Júnior Universidade Estadual de Campinas
  • Ana Lílian Correia Lopes Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte
  • Symone Fernandes de Melo Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte
  • Manuel Antonio Gordón-Núnez Universidade Federal da Paraíba
  • Isabelita Duarte Azevedo Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte



Child psychology. Fear. Pediatric dentistry.


Children that arrive at dental offices with fear and anxiety usually tend to resist conditioning mechanisms. The aim this study was to evaluate children’s perception about dental treatment and to identify factors that influence this perception. Material and Methods: A random sample of 100 children of both genders aged 3 to 12, who were treated at the Department of Dentistry of a University (group I) and at a Children’s Hospital (group II), was selected. A structured questionnaire about the child’s perception about dental care was applied and the children were asked to draw a picture of this topic. Most of children expressed a positive perception in the questionnaire and in the drawings (93.8%). This positive perception was more pronounced in group I (94%) and in children aged 3 to 5 years (100%), particularly in girls (78%). The main cause of fear was the use of needles (42.4%). Many children (24.2%) reported to prefer the noninvasive procedures. A positive perception of dental treatment was observed in the majority of the sample. Therefore, dental pediatricians must be aware of the perception of children for better conditioning.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Cláudia Lobelli Rangel Gomes, Universidade Estadual de Campinas

Pesquisadora Graduada em Odontologia pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte. Atualmente Residente Multiprofissional em Saúde Materno-Infantil pela UFRN.

Manoelito Ferreira Silva-Júnior, Universidade Estadual de Campinas

Graduado em Odontologia pela Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES). Especialista em Saúde Coletiva e da Família pela Faculdade de Odontologia de Piracicaba - Universidade Estadual de Campinas (FOP-Unicamp). Mestre e Doutorando em Odontologia (Saúde Coletiva) pela FOP-Unicamp (CAPES 7). 

Ana Lílian Correia Lopes, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte

Possui graduação em Odontologia pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (2011) e pós-graduação em Prótese Dentária pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (2013).

Symone Fernandes de Melo, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte

Possui mestrado em Psicologia Clínica pela Universidade de São Paulo e doutorado em Psicologia (Psicologia Cognitiva) pela Universidade Federal de Pernambuco. Atualmente é Professor Associado da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte.

Manuel Antonio Gordón-Núnez, Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Possui graduação em Odontologia pela Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Mestrado, Doutorado e Pós-Doutorado em Patologia Oral pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte. É membro do corpo editorial da RBPO- Revista Brasileira de Patologia Oral.

Isabelita Duarte Azevedo, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte

Possui graduação em Odontologia pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (1995), mestrado em Odontologia Social pela Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (2002) e doutorado em Odontologia pela Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (2006). Atualmente é professor Adjunta I da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte nas disciplinas de Clinica Infantil I e II.


Berge MT, VeerKamp JSJ, Hoogstraten J. The etiology of childhood dental fear: the role of dental and conditioning experiences. J Anxiety Dis. 2002; 16(3): 321-9.

Tickle M, Jones C, Buchannan K, Milsom KM, Blinkhorn AS, Humphris GM. A prospective study of dental anxiety in a cohort of children followed from 5 to 9 years of age. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2009 2009 Jul;19(4):22532. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2009.00976.x.

Saatchi M, Abtahi M, Mohammadi G, Mirdamadi M, Binandeh ES. The prevalence of dental anxiety and fear in patients referred to Isfahan Dental School, Iran. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2015 May-Jun;12(3):248-53.

AlSarheed M. Children’s Perception of Their Dentists. Eur J Dent. 2011. Apr;5(2):186-90.

Olak J, Saag M, Honkala S, Nõmmela R, Runnel R, Honkala E, et al. Children's dental fear in relation to dental health and parental dental fear. Stomatologija. 2013;15(1):26-31.

El-Housseiny AA, Alamoudi NM, Farsi NM, El Derwi DA. Characteristics of dental fear among Arabic-speaking children: a descriptive study. BMC Oral Health. 2014 Sep;14:118. doi: 10.1186/1472-6831-14-118.

Oliveira MG, Ávila RA, Silva RRC, Gomes FV, Moraes JFD, Weber JBB. Dental fear and anxiety among children and their caregivers. Rev Cienc Med Biol. 2014 May-Aug;13(2):137-41. Doi: http://dx.doi. org/10.9771/cmbio.v13i2.10113.

Hamama L, Ronen T. Children’s drawings as a self-report measurement. Child Family Social Work. 2009;14(1):90-102.

Torriani DD, Goettems ML, Cademartori MG, Fernandez RR, Bussoletti DM. Representation of dental care and oral health in children’s drawings. Br Dent J. 2014 Jun;216(12):E26. doi: 10.1038/ sj.bdj.2014.545.

Pacheco KTS, Silva-Junior MF, Arcieri RM, Garbin AJI, Garbin CAS. The knowledge of children on tooth care: a qualitative and quantitative approuch. Rev Odonto Cienc. 2016;31(2):49-53.

Bottan ER, Oglio JD, Araújo SM. Dental anxiety in elementary schoolchildren. Pesq Bras Odontoped Clin Integr. 2007;7(3):241-6.

Marshman Z, Hall MJ. Oral health research with children. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2008 Jul;18(4):235-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2008.00922.x.

Taylor D, Roth G, Mayberry W. Children's drawings about dentistry. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1976 Jan;4(1):1-6.

Nicolas E, Bessadet M, Collado V, Carrasco P, Rogerleroi V, Hennequin M. Factors affecting dental fear in French children aged 5–12 years. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2010 Sep 1;20(5):366-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365263X.2010.01054.x.

Lee C, Chang Y, Huang S. The clinically related predictors of dental fear in Taiwanese children. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2008 Nov;18(6):415-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2008.00924.x.

Dutt K, Nagar A, Pandey R, Singh P. Reliability and factor analysis of children’s fear survey schedule-dental subscale in Indian subjects. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2010 Jul-Sep;28(3):151-5. doi: 10.4103/0970-4388.73788.

Oliveira MMT, Colares V. The relationship between dental anxiety and dental pain in children aged 18 to 59 months: a study in Recife, Pernambuco State, Brazil. Cad Saude Publica. 2009 Apr;25(4):743-50.

Klaassen MA, Veerkamp JSJ, Hoogstraten J. Dental fear, communication, and behavioural management problems in children referred for dental problems. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2007 Nov;17(6):469-77.

Jones LM, Buchanan H. Assessing children’s dental anxiety in New Zealand. N Z Dent J. 2010 Dec;106(4):132-6.

Clatworthy S, Simon K, Tiedeman M. Child Drawing: Hospital – an instrument designed to measure the emotional status of hospitalized schoolaged children. J Pediatr Nurs. 1999 Feb;14(1):2-9.

Clatworthy S, Simon K, Tiedeman M. Child drawing: hospital manual. J Pediatr Nurs. 1999 Feb;14(1):10-8.

Chambers CT, Giesbrecht K, Craig KD, Bennet SM, Huntsman E. A comparison of faces for the measurement of pediatric pain: children’s and parents’ ratings. Pain 1999 Oct;83(1):25-35.

Skybo TH, Ryan-Wenger N, Su Y. Human figure drawings as a measure of children’s emotional status: critical review for practice. J Pediatr Nurs. 2007 Feb; 22(1):15-28.

Looman WS. A developmental approach to understanding drawings and narratives from children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. J Pediatr Health Care. 2006 May-Jun;20(3):158-66.

Matto HC. Drawing in clinical assessment of children and adolescent. In: Smith SR, Handler L. The Clinical Assessment of Children and Adolescents: A Practitioner’s Handbook. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 2006. p.207-9.

Driessnack M. Children’s drawings as facilitators of communication: a meta-analysis. J Pediatr Nurs. 2005 Dec;20(6):415-23.

Themessl-Huber M, Freeman R, Humphris G, Macgillivray S, Terzi N. Empirical evidence of the relationship between parental and child dental fear: a structured review and meta-analysis. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2010 Mar;20(2):83-101. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2009.00998.x.

Klingberg G, Broberg AG. Dental fear⁄anxiety and dental behaviour management problems in children and adolescents: a review of prevalence and concomitant psychological factors. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2007 Nov;17(6):391-406.

Oliveira RS, Torres LMS, Gomes IS, Nicoló RD. [Evaluation of anxiety levels in children during odontological treatment]. IJD, Int J Dent. 2010 Oct-Dec;9(4):193-7.




How to Cite

Gomes CLR, Silva-Júnior MF, Lopes ALC, Melo SF de, Gordón-Núnez MA, Azevedo ID. Perception of dental care among children. Braz. J. Oral Sci. [Internet]. 2017 Apr. 20 [cited 2022 Sep. 27];15(2):185-90. Available from:




Most read articles by the same author(s)