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Vol. 75, No. 4
ISSN: 1488-2159
May 2009


Techniques for Managing Behaviour in Pediatric Dentistry: Comparative Study of Live Modelling and Tell–Show–Do Based on Children's Heart Rates during Treatment


• Nada Farhat-McHayleh, DDS, DEA, PhD •
• Alice Harfouche, DDS, CAGS, MSc •
• Philippe Souaid, DDS, MSc •

A b s t r a c t

Background and Objectives: Tell–show–do is the most popular technique for managing children's behaviour in dentists' offices. Live modelling is used less frequently, despite the satisfactory results obtained in studies conducted during the 1980s. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of these 2 techniques on children's heart rates during dental treatments, heart rate being the simplest biological parameter to measure and an increase in heart rate being the most common physiologic indicator of anxiety and fear.

Materials and Methods: For this randomized, controlled, parallel-group single-centre clinical trial, children 5 to 9 years of age presenting for the first time to the Saint Joseph University dental care centre in Beirut, Lebanon, were divided into 3 groups: those in groups A and B were prepared for dental treatment by means of live modelling, the mother serving as the model for children in group A and the father as the model for children in group B. The children in group C were prepared by a pediatric dentist using the tell–show–do method. Each child's heart rate was monitored during treatment, which consisted of an oral examination and cleaning.

Results: A total of 155 children met the study criteria and participated in the study. Children who received live modelling with the mother as model had lower heart rates than those who received live modelling with the father as model and those who were prepared by the tell–show–do method (p < 0.01). The model used for live modelling (father or mother) and the child's age were determining factors in the results obtained.

Conclusions: Live modelling is a technique worth practising in pediatric dentistry.


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