Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Department name when degree awarded

Family and human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Don C. Carter


Don C. Carter


Jay Schvaneveldt


The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of children toward the dental visit. A group of children who had undergone dental treatment with the use of nitrous oxide-oxygen served as the experimental group while children who had received dental treatment without the use of nitrous oxide-oxygen served as the control group. Attitudes toward the dental experience among these two groups were compared to determine any differences or similarities due to the type of treatment used. Data were also collected on the parents of the children to determine whether the child's attitude toward the dental visit tended to reflect the attitude toward dentistry as expressed by the accompanying parent.

Forty- five children between the ages of four and ten years old were asked t o identify a hypothetical child depicted in three specific situations as being either "Happy" or "Sad." The three situations were defined as follows : (1) A child coming from the ice cream shop, (2) A child who just cut a finger, and (3) A child just leaving the dentist's office. The parents in this study were asked to rate their anxiety related to visiting the dentist as being either (1) very relaxed, (2) generally relaxed, (3) generally anxious, or (4) very anxious.

No significant difference was established between the nitrous oxide-oxygen children and the nonnitrous oxide group in relation to their attitudes toward the dental experience. No significant relationship was noted between the child's attitude and the respective parent's attitude in relation to the dental visit. A significant relationship between the boys and the girls was noted in the "Happy" classification group when the sex of the child was compared to the child's point of reference as given in the hypothetical dental situation.