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Pain. 2008 Jul 15;137(2):389-94. Epub 2007 Nov 26.

Children's self-reported pain at the dentist.

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


The aim of the present study is to get an insight into the pain report of children over two sequential dental visits. Furthermore, it was studied whether age, previous dental experience, level of dental anxiety and injection site were of influence on the self-reported pain of children during the first and second treatment session. One hundred and forty-seven children (4-11 years old) were included in the study. After receiving a local anesthesia injection prior to their dental treatment, they were asked how much pain they had felt. The level of dental anxiety was measured once by the parental version of the Dental Subscale of the Children's Fear Survey Schedule. Young children with a low level of dental anxiety show a sensitized reaction trend for self-reported pain over two sequential dental visits. Young children with a high level of dental anxiety reported the most pain on the first treatment session. For the older children, the children having previous dental experience gave the highest pain ratings on the first treatment session. Furthermore, for both young and older children the amount of pain reported for the second injection was best predicted by the amount of pain reported for the first injection, whereby higher scores the first time predict higher scores the second time. In conclusion, the memory of previous experience with dentistry and earlier treatment sessions seems of great influence on the behaviour and the experience of children during subsequent treatment sessions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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