Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatr Dent. 2001 Jul-Aug;23(4):337-42.

Communication strategies used during pediatric dental treatment: a pilot study.

Author information

Department of Pediatric Dentistry, The Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.



Effective verbal communication is essential for successful dental treatment. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively and quantitatively examine communication techniques used by pediatric postdoctoral students during treatment. The operation of a communication model comprised of three linguistic approaches-permissive, empathic and personal-together with other strategies common to all three, was examined.


The study group consisted of 24 children (14 boys and 10 girls), 3 to 12 years of age. All four dentists were 2nd year residents in pediatric dentistry. Conversations were taped and analyzed linguistically and statistically. The frequency of use of each approach was tabulated and correlated to the children's reported anxiety, cooperation during treatment, success of treatment, and mood at the end of treatment.


All dentists used the three approaches; the permissive approach, which supplied procedural information, was the most frequently used approach. The empathic approach was the least frequently used. Correlation tests showed that the empathic approach was most significantly related to the success of the treatment. Components of the permissive approach that contributed to the success of treatment were sensory information and supplying reasons.


Although generalization is limited because of the small sample, improving verbal conversational skills, emphasizing certain strategies, and improving linguistic abilities will contribute to better communication between child and pediatric dentist and to better cooperation and success in treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center