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Pediatr Dent. 2015 Sep-Oct;37(5):436-41.

Parents' Ability to Assess Dental Fear in their Six- to 10-year-old Children.

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Departments of Pediatric Dentistry, Children's Hospital Colorado and School of Dental Medicine, Aurora, Colo., USA.
Private practice in Brentwood, Calif., USA.
Biostatistics and Informatics, School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colo., USA.



To investigate parents' ability to assess dental anxiety of their six- to 10-year-old children and to determine how parents' and children's fear assessments correlate with patient behavior during dental treatment.


From a continuous convenience sample, 184 child/parent dyads were recruited to complete the Children's Fear Survey Schedule-Dental Subscale (CFSS-DS) questionnaire prior to dental treatment. One provider treated all children, assessed their behavior, and assigned a Frankl score rating to them. Parent/child anxiety scores were compared to each other and to the behavior children presented during dental treatment.


The mean dental anxiety score reported by the children was 30.30; the score reported by their parents was 2.94 points higher (P=.0016). There was poor consistency within parent/child pairs when precisely assessing dental anxiety. Parental assessments of their children's dental anxiety were a poor to fair predictor for observed behavior, whereas the children's self-assessments were fair to good. Child age was not associated with ability to assess anxiety. Parents of children with low anxiety overestimated their children's anxiety, whereas parents of children with high anxiety underestimated their children's anxiety.


Parents and children showed moderate agreement assessing dental anxiety measured by the CFSS-DS. The child's score is preferable for predicting behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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