Background & Aim: Providing dental treatment to young children becomes challenging due to their dental fear or anxiety, which manifests in disruptive or non-compliant behavior. This study aims to collect baseline information on the behavior patterns and related factors of 2- 5-yearold children with dental caries at the first visit for basic preventive dental treatment and non-pharmacological behavioral management.
Materials and methods: A hospital-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 427, 2–5-year-old children who presented with their parents to the preventive dental clinic, community dental unit of Dental Institute, Colombo which is a premier, multispecialty, tertiary care public dental hospital in Sri Lanka. A specially designed interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on sociodemographic status, oral health behaviors, night feeding practices, dietary habits assessed by a food frequency question, dental caries status, fluoride application and child’s behavior at the first and subsequent visits and non-pharmacological behavior management techniques used. The data were entered and analyzed using the SPSS-21 statistical software package using frequency distributions and chi-square test of statistical significance to compare groups.
Results: The majority of children (72.8%) were cooperative in receiving basic preventive oral health care at the first visit, which marked the first dental visit for the majority. The children carried a high burden of untreated dental caries. The mean dmft was 7.74 (95% CI: 7.39–8.10), with a mean dt of 7.61 (95% CI: 7.25-7.96). Cariogenic dietary pattern, night breastfeeding practices, and past dental care of the child were significantly associated with the observed behavior pattern of children for preventive oral health care (p<0.05). The preventive dental clinic had a child-friendly environment and practiced voice control with tell-show-do, rewarding, positive modeling, and distraction techniques.
Conclusions: A child-friendly environment in the dental office, simple non-pharmacological behavior management techniques, and noninvasive preventive dental treatment could be effective in managing young pediatric patients with a high burden of dental caries.
Dental behavior, Children, Non-pharmacological behavior management, Dental caries