Purpose: To investigate the level of dental fear and anxiety of children who have cleft lip and palate (CLP).
Materials and Methods: The study was performed at Cukurova University, Faculty of Dentistry. A total of 32 7- to 12-yearold children, 17 of them with CLP (8 girls and 9 boys) and 15 of them without CLP (7 girls and 8 boys) participated in the study. The children were evaluated by using the Facial Image Scale (FIS) and Dental Subscale of Childrens Fear Survey Schedule (CFSS-DS) methods. The anxiety state of the children was assessed twice using FIS: first in the dental hospital waiting room (FIS-WR) and after, while sitting in the dental chair (FIS-DC). CFSS-DS was administered to all participants in order to assess the dental anxiety while they were sitting in the dental chair.
Results: According to the FIS results, there was no difference between CLP and control group in the waiting room (P = 0.682). However, the CLP group showed lower scores than the control group while they were sitting in the dental chair (P = 0.030). The FIS scores of the CLP group were significantly higher in the waiting room than while sitting in the dental chair (P = 0.007). In the control group, there was no significant difference between FIS-WR and FIS-DC values (P = 0.664). The total CFSS-DS scores of children with CLP were lower than those of the control group, but these differences were not statistically significant (P > 0.05).
Conclusion: Children with CLP showed more anxiety in the FIS-WR than in the FIS-DC, but they showed lower scores than the control group in the FIS-DC. The positive previous experience of meetings with dentists of the CLP children could explain these results. Positive previous experiences with dentists and a short time in the waiting room could be key elements in the care of CLP children.
Keywords: CFSS-DS, children, CLP, dental anxiety, FIS