The Effect of Music Distraction on Pain, Anxiety and Behavior in Pediatric Dental Patients


Pediatric Dentistry




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.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Anxiety; Anxiety Scales; Children; Dental Procedures; Distress; Heart Rate; Medical Office; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Music as Distraction; Pain; Pain Management and Control; Pain Score or Rating; Procedural Pain; Recorded Music Listening; Self-Report Measures; Visual Analog Scale (VAS); Vital signs

Indexed Terms

Analysis of Variance; Anesthesia, Dental; Anesthesia, Local; Attention; Attitude to Health; Case-Control Studies; Children; Child Behavior; Child, Preschool; Cooperative Behavior; Dental Anxiety; Dental Care; Dental Restoration, Permanent; Heart Rate; Pain; Pain Measurement; Single-Blind Method; Statistics as Topic

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type