Children’s experiences during their first dental visit: A qualitative study

Bahareh Tahani Firoozeh Nilchian

Children’s experiences during their first dental visit: A qualitative study

Authors: Bahareh Tahani Firoozeh Nilchian
doi: 10.1922/CDH_00250Tahani05


Background: While the child’s first dental visit can shape his/her attitude towards further treatments, little consideration has been given to exploring this experience from the child’s perspective. Therefore, the aim of the study was to delineate the experiences of the first dental visit of children based on self-written stories in their own words. Methods: Qualitative study conducted as part of the oral health promoting school program in Isfahan city, Iran. Data collection was based on the responses to a question included in the programme’s printed educational content. Schoolchildren were asked to explain about their experiences of their first dental visit in a story. Two researchers read the stories separately and identified concepts and themes. In a discussion panel gained consensus about the main themes. Then the researchers integrated and grouped together similar themes to new categories. Categories originating in the data provided insights into and explanations of factors that might influence the schoolchildren’s experience in the dental office. Sampling continued until saturation, when no new codes appeared in the data. The childrens’ stories were imported in the MAXQD software and analyzed to retrieve the main categories and themes. Results: Factors that influenced experiences appeared to be idiosyncratic, but could be classified into three categories: the person accompanying the child, child and dentist-related factors. Two sub-categories of the person accompanying the child were the role of person in their treatment and the types of persons accompanying them. Dentist-related factors included three more sub-themes of applied behavioral management techniques, their role in oral health education, and organization of the office environment. The three sub-themes of children’s related factors were experiencing fear, remembering the details of their experience, and type of care received. Conclusion: Although the method was limited to the qualitative written stories of children and there was no opportunity to explore more and consider the detailed opinions by face-to-face interviews, some noticeable elements were mentioned by children. The person accompanying the child, child and dentist-related factors were three main categories obtained from the data. Keywords: Qualitative Research, Dental anxiety, Dental Care for Children, Office Visit

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