The effect of music distraction on pain, anxiety and behavior in pediatric dental patients

Jennifer Creem Aitken, Stephen Wilson, Daniel Coury, Amr M. Moursi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if audio distraction could decrease patient anxiety, pain and disruptive behavior during pediatric dental procedures. Methods: Forty-five children between the ages of 4 to 6 years had two visits each involving restorative dentistry with local anesthesia in a mandibular quadrant. Visit #1 was a baseline session for all patients. During visit #2, the children were assigned to either an upbeat music group, a relaxing music group or a no music group. Variables measured were: (1) parent-reported anxiety via the Modified Corah Anxiety Scale, (2) self-reported anxiety via the Venham picture scale, (3) heart rate, (4) behavior via the North Carolina Behavior Rating Scale and (5) pain via a visual analogue scale. Results: No significant differences were found among the three groups during experimental visit #2 across any variables. A majority of patients (90%) stated that they enjoyed the music and would like to listen to it during their next visit. Conclusions: Audio distraction was not an effective means of reducing anxiety, pain or uncooperative behavior during pediatric restorative dental procedures. However, patients did enjoy listening to the music during their visits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-118
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric dentistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2002


  • Behavior
  • Child management
  • Music distraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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