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What the child “SAID” to the dentist: A UK randomized controlled trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

R. Yee, L. M. Jones, M. T. Hosey

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-932
Number of pages7
JournalChild: Care Health and Development
Issue number6
Early online date30 Aug 2017
Accepted/In press15 Aug 2017
E-pub ahead of print30 Aug 2017
Published1 Nov 2017

King's Authors


Background: The electronic Survey of Anxiety and Information for Dentists (eSAID) allows children to tell dentists about their feelings and coping preferences. It is a computer “quiz” with 26 questions and free-text responses that produces a report for the children that they can then hand to their dentist. This is the first study to report the use of eSAID in a hospital paediatric dental clinic. Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial to evaluate whether children thought that eSAID benefitted them, made them less anxious, and improved cooperation and their treatment satisfaction. Fifty-one children aged 8–13 years were randomized to complete either eSAID or a control version in the waiting room before their scheduled dental appointment. The study group had a 26-item questionnaire; the control had only two items. Both groups scored their anxiety on a 7-point anxiety scale at the start and again at the end of the quiz. All subjects handed the resultant eSAID report as a printout to their dentist. Dental treatment proceeded as planned. After treatment, each child reported how they thought the eSAID quiz had benefitted them by scoring on a 10 cm Visual Analogue Scale and their satisfaction on the Modified Treatment Evaluation Inventory. The operating dentists scored the children's cooperation using a 10 cm Visual Analogue Scale. Results: Overall, the baseline anxiety levels were low (study: mean 1.2; control: mean 1.5). The study group's post-survey anxiety reduced by 0.4, whereas controls' increased by 0.2; this difference is statistically significant (p =.04). However, it made no difference to the children's self-reported benefit (p =.30), satisfaction (p >.05), or cooperation (p =.34). Conclusions: eSAID reduced pre-treatment anxiety but made no difference to children's perceived benefit, satisfaction, or cooperation. Future study should include known anxious children.

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