Watching Cartoons During Dental Treatment May Help Children Cope With Anxiety, Trial Finds.

A release on Science Daily (8/8) stated that “watching cartoons through video glasses during dental treatment could help lessen children’s anxiety and distress as well as reduce disruptive behavior,” according to a randomized controlled clinical trial published in Acta Odontologia Scandinavica. In the study, researchers “randomly assigned” 56 children to receive audiovisual distraction or no distraction, finding “the children in the distraction group exhibited significantly less anxiety and showed more cooperation than those in the control group, particularly during the local anesthetic injection.” In addition, children in the distraction group had a significantly lower average pulse rate during the injection than children in the control group. However, the children “did not report differences in treatment-related pain and anxiety.” The authors concluded the audiovisual distraction appears to be “a useful technique to calm children and ensure that they can be given the dental treatment they need,” although larger studies are needed to confirm this finding.

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