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Study Shows Teens Are Totally Stressed by the Dental Office

A study presented at the European Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden, uncovers the hidden stress levels in children during dental treatments. Researchers used advanced sensor technology to monitor hand movements and sweating, revealing significant stress spikes, particularly during invasive procedures.

At the ongoing European Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (EAPD) Congress in Gothenburg, a pioneering study led by Larisa Krekmanova, DDS, PhD, from the University of Gothenburg is making waves. This research, aimed at understanding the hidden stress in children and adolescents during dental treatments, utilized innovative sensor technology to monitor stress indicators such as hand movements and sweating.

The study involved 34 participants ages 14 to 16, who were subjected to either regular dental exams or more invasive procedures like anesthetic injections and molar extractions. During these procedures, the children wore devices on their hands that measured electrodermal activity, a marker of stress.

Findings revealed that even regular dental exams caused scattered stress spikes among the participants. However, those undergoing invasive treatments showed significantly higher and more prolonged stress levels. The stress was notably heightened during the administration of local anesthetic injections, with hand movements and sweating peaking during this phase. Interestingly, while hand movements decreased during tooth extraction, heavy sweating persisted, indicating sustained stress.

These insights highlight the profound anxiety children face, especially with invasive dental interventions. The study suggests that real-time monitoring of stress could enable dental practitioners to pause and implement remedial measures, potentially easing the experience for young patients.

The use of advanced sensor tools, typically seen in sports science, underscores a novel approach in pediatric dentistry. By identifying and addressing the silent stress of young patients, this research paves the way for more sensitive and patient-centered dental care. Click here to read more.

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