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29.10.2018 | Original Scientific Article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry 1/2019

A review of the effect of music on dental anxiety in children

European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry > Ausgabe 1/2019
S. L. Ainscough, L. Windsor, J. F. Tahmassebi



To review the current literature on the effectiveness of using music as an intervention to reduce dental anxiety in children.


At the University of Leeds, the School of Music and the School of Dentistry collaborated to conduct an online search strategy. The Cochrane Library and Medline databases were used to find the current available evidence.


Systematic reviews and clinical trial studies as well as cohort studies containing pertinent information on the effect of music on anxiety in the clinical setting were reviewed. The literature showed that music can have a biological and psychological impact on emotion and consequently has been used effectively as an aid to moderate anxiety in the clinical setting. With regard to paediatric dentistry, majority of studies were found to support the use of music in reducing dental anxiety in children, however several additional studies showed that music did not significantly reduce the children’s dental anxiety. The studies employed a number of methods to measure dental anxiety including the Venham’s Picture Test, the Venham’s clinical anxiety rating scale and pulse oximetry. They also used a range of music types; some studies allowed for patient self-selection of music whereas others dictated the music the children listened to.


There is an increasing body of evidence to support the use of music to moderate anxiety within the clinical setting in both medicine and dentistry. However, the current evidence for the effectiveness of using music to reduce dental anxiety in children is inconclusive and of limited quality.

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