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Br Dent J. 2014 Jun;216(12):E26. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2014.545.

Representation of dental care and oral health in children's drawings.

Author information

1
Department of Social and Preventive Dentistry and Post-Graduate Program in Dentistry, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil.
2
Post-Graduate Student, Post-Graduate Program in Dentistry, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil.
3
Dentist in Private Clinic, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
4
Department of Educational Foundations, School of Education, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Paediatric dentistry requires knowledge of preventive measures, restorative skills and an understanding of child development.

AIM:

This exploratory, descriptive and qualitative study has analysed children's drawings regarding their perception of dental treatment and oral health.

METHOD:

Children aged from six to ten years attending a dental school for treatment were randomly invited to create a drawing about 'dental treatment' and 'oral health'. Verbal expressions made by the children whilst drawing were also recorded and attached to the drawings. These representations were analysed and categorised using Vygotsky postulations for context reading.

DISCUSSION:

During the drawing analysis different themes emerged. Five categories regarding perceptions of dental treatment were identified: personal relationship; power relation; trauma; childhood resistance; and contextualisation of dental care in the child's life. Three categories relating to oral health were determined: dichotomy of health/sickness; ludic representation of health; and sickness seen as a process.

CONCLUSION:

Drawing can be used to understand children's emotions and expectations about dental treatment. Besides possessing technical skills and scientific knowledge, dentists have an obligation to pay attention to children's feelings.

PMID:
24970540
DOI:
10.1038/sj.bdj.2014.545
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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