Comparison the Influence of Visual Art Therapy among Normal and Learning Disability Paediatric Patients with Dental Anxiety



Nor Malina Manan1, Kuo Wei Lee2, Hazlin Anita Zainal Abidin3, Jia Hock Diong2, Noor Lide Abu Kassim4
1 Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics Department, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2 University of Malaya, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3 University Malaya Art Gallery, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
4 Kulliyyah of Education, International Islamic University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Objective: This study examined the influence of visual art therapy in reducing anxiety level among normal and learning disability paediatric dental patients during their first visit/dental screening.

Methods: A convenience sample of 36 normal (first dental visit) and diagnosed with learning disability (attended special smile screening) children, aged 4 to 12 years old, were selected as participants. The participants were allowed to choose in between two visual art therapy techniques: colouring pre-drawn mandala (pre-designed) or free-drawing for 20 minutes prior to dental examination. The participants’ anxiety levels were assessed using validated Malay-Modified Child Dental Anxiety Scale (MCDASf) to measure a child situational anxiety of pre- and post-dental examination. Chi-square test was used to determine the significance association of dental anxiety level for normal and learning disability children. The influence of visual art therapy in dental anxiety of the participants was analysed using Wilcoxon signed-ranked test.

Results: MCDASf of normal and children with learning disability showed lower anxiety level towards dental visit, dental examination, mouth prophylaxis and dental restoration after receiving visual art therapy during their first visit/dental screening. While , the Wilcoxon signed-ranked test showed children with learning disability anxiety level (p = 0.028) and normal chidren (p = 0.015) upon receiving dental examination.

Conclusion: These findings suggest dental anxiety level of normal and children with learning disability reduced after visual art therapy prior to their first dental examination.