Abstract: Aim The aim of our study is to verify if some of the noises produced in a dental surgery, especially those of high-speed drill and Erbium laser, might cause anxiety to children.
Materials and methods In order to confirm our hypothesis, we recorded these noises and then reproduced them to a group of children in a neutral setting, in this case at school. The children were aged 6 to 10 years, 55.9% were Italian, while the remaining 44.1% were of other nationalities. Some of them already had a previous experience at the dentist's.
Results The range of images recalled by the children is very small, and they all refer to a realistic, imaginary and sometimes daily context (domestic, family and game related). Such representations have rarely been associated to negative sensations.
Conclusion The noise environment of the dentist's surgery, for what concerns the two stimuli we analysed (high-speed srill and Erbium laser), does not cause an anxious reaction to the majority of children; as a matter of fact the percentage of positive sensations and emotions turns out to be predominant. The results obtained suggest it would be useful to protect this natural tendency, finding out the best method to prevent adult models, such as parents or clinical staff, from affecting it in a negative way.