Effectiveness of the tell-play-do technique in comparison to the tell-show-do technique for the management of anxious children: A randomized controlled trial

Document Type : Original Article


Pediatric Dentistry and Dental public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, Cairo University, Egypt.


Aim: This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the tell-play-do technique compared to the tell-show-do technique in managing anxious children.
Methodology: Thirty-four children aged 4-6 years were included in the current study. Children were randomly assigned to intervention (Tell-play-do technique) and control groups (Tell-show-do technique). The level of dental anxiety was assessed using a finger pulse oximeter at three intervals during the procedure. The operator evaluated the child's behavior during the procedure in each group using the FLACC (Face, Leg, Activity, Cry, Consolability) behavioral pain assessment scale. The ease of handling the patient (during the procedure) and the ease of carrying out the procedure by the pediatric dentist after using the two behavior modification techniques were assessed by using a questionnaire.
Results: After behavior management and at the end of the visit, the control group had a significantly higher heart rate than the intervention group (p=0.016 and p <0.001), respectively. Behavior evaluation results reported a significant difference between both groups (p<0.001). Both groups had a significant difference (p<0.001) regarding the ease of handling patients and the ease of doing the procedure in favor of the intervention group.
Conclusion: Tell-play-do technique was more successful than the Tell-show-do technique in reducing the children's anxiety. Most of the children in the tell-play-do group were relaxed and comfortable compared to those in the tell-show-do group, which showed mild discomfort. The tell-play-do group revealed better results regarding the ease of handling the patient and the ease of doing the procedure by the operator.


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