Watching cartoons could help children overcome anxiety of dental treatment

Watching cartoons through video glasses during dental treatment could help lessen children's anxiety and distress as well as reducing disruptive behaviour, according to a randomized controlled trial published in Acta Odontologia Scandinavica.

Anxiety about visiting the dentist and during treatment is common in children. Estimates suggest that as many as 1 in 5 school age children are afraid of dentists. Children with dental phobias end up experiencing more dental pain and are more disruptive during treatment. Although studies have shown that audiovisual distraction (eg, playing video games and watching TV) can be successful in minimizing distress and the perception of pain during short invasive medical procedures, the issue of whether distraction is beneficial during dental procedures is still hotly debated. Research to date has produced conflicting results.

In this study, 56 'uncooperative' children (aged 7 to 9 years) attending a dental clinic at the Royal College of Dentistry, King Saud University in Saudi Arabia were randomly assigned to receive either audiovisual distraction (watching their favourite cartoons using the eyeglass system Merlin i-theatre™) or no distraction (control group). Children underwent three separate (max 30 min) treatment visits involving an oral examination, injection with local anaesthetic, and tooth restoration. The researchers measured the anxiety levels and cooperative behavior of the children during each visit using an anxiety and behavior scale, and monitored each child's vital signs, blood pressure, and pulse (indirect measures of anxiety). Children also rated their own anxiety and pain during each procedure.

During treatment, the children in the distraction group exhibited significantly less anxiety and showed more cooperation than those in the control group, particularly during the local anaesthetic injection. What's more, the average pulse rate of children in the control group was significantly higher during the injection compared with children in the distraction group. However, the children themselves did not report differences in treatment-related pain and anxiety.

The authors conclude that audiovisual distraction seems to be a useful technique to calm children and ensure that they can be given the dental treatment they need. However, they caution that because of the limited number of participants, further larger studies will be needed in general clinical settings to confirm the value of this audiovisual distraction tool.

Article: Effects of audiovisual distraction on children's behaviour during dental treatment: a randomized controlled clinical trial, Amal Al-Khotaniabc, Lanre A'aziz Belloc, Nikolaos Christidisab, Taylor & Francis Online, doi: 10.1080/00016357.2016.1206211, published online 13 July 2016.

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TGA Revises Dental Laboratory Product Standards

Summary —

As a result of ADIA's policy advocacy the TGA has revised the regulatory arrangements for dental laboratory products that introduce new mandatory reporting requirements and have confirmed that crowns, bridges, dentures and similar products need to meet the same design and performance standards whether made locally or overseas.

Key Issues For The Dental Industry —

The regulatory standards for laboratory work (referred to as custom-made medical devices for regulatory purposes) are enforced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) pursuant to the provisions of the Therapeutic Goods Act (Cth) 1989. This legislation provides a framework for a risk management approach that allows the Australian community to have timely access to therapeutic goods which are consistently safe, effective and of high quality.

For more than a decade the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) has been working with the TGA to ensure that dental laboratory products meet the same regulatory standards irrespective of source.

After advocacy at a parliamentary and departmental level, ADIA has been able to secure some important reforms that confirm the regulatory standards for dental laboratory products and revise the mandatory reporting arrangements. The outcome is a regulatory framework that:

  Defines the required design and performance standards; and
  Requires a local laboratory or importer to notify the TGA or their operations.

Importantly, these obligations are common to all suppliers of dental laboratory products in Australia, whether they be supplied by a local laboratory, an importing wholesaler or a dentist importing the product from overseas.

ADIA has welcomed the leadership shown by the TGA and its senior staff in working with the dental industry to deliver these important reforms that support the sector.

The reporting requirements are the result of a recent regulatory amendment secured by ADIA. Within two months of commencing local manufacturing or importing the product, there is now a requirement that the TGA be notified of the activity and, in so doing, a further requirement to provide information about the manufacturer to the TGA. Further information can be found online at:

Additional online information —

 TGA Regulatory requirements for dental laboratory products

The enclosed brochure sets out these requirements in more detail. Consistent with ADIA’s agenda of keeping red-tape to a minimum, there is only a requirement to notify the TGA when supply commences (i.e. in the first instance) and not every time a dental laboratory or importer supplies a product. ADIA’s work in this area was possible as a result of the support and guidance that we receive from members and I encourage you to consider becoming involved in ADIA’s policy advocacy activities

Member Engagement —

ADIA provides leadership, strategy, advocacy and support. Our members set our agenda, fund our activities and directly benefit from the results. On matters associated with regulation of dental laboratory products ADIA staff receive advice and guidance from members that belong to the ADIA-LIG Laboratory Interest Group and who serve on the ADIA-DRC Dental Regulation Committee.

Currency of Information —

This update was issued on 15 March 2016 and please note that changes in circumstances after the publication of material or information may impact upon its accuracy and also change regulatory compliance obligations.

Disclaimer —

The statements, regulatory and technical information contained herein are believed to be accurate and are provided for information purposes only. Readers are responsible for assessing its relevance and verifying the accuracy of the content. To the fullest extent permitted by law, ADIA will not be liable for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred in relation to or arising as a result of relying on the information presented here. 

This publication is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the ADIA logo, other images and where otherwise stated. 

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Dental Industry News

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    17th Mar 16

    As a result of ADIA's policy advocacy the TGA has revised the regulatory arrangements for dental laboratory products that introduce new mandatory reporting requirements for crowns, bridges, dentures and similar products. More

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