Influence of active versus passive parental presence on the behavior of preschoolers with different intelligence levels in the dental operatory: a randomized controlled clinical trial

Document Type



Background: Dental fear and anxiety still pose the most common factors proposed for the child’s negative behavior in the dental operatory. Intelligence has an impact on the children’s communication, feelings, and responsiveness to dental situations. The benefits of parental presence on reinforcing the child’s behavior during dental treatment are still debatable. This study aimed to assess the effect of parental active versus parental passive presence techniques on the overall behavior of preschool children with different intelligence levels. Methods: This randomized controlled trial was conducted from December 2017 to August 2019. It recruited 150 healthy children, 3–6-year-old, with no history of previous dental pain/treatment, and intelligence quotient level of 70– ≤ 110 stratified into 3 equal groups (high, average, low). In the first visit, each IQ group was randomly divided into test (PAP) and control (PPP) groups. In the second visit, dental fear was assessed before preventive intervention, the test groups were then managed using parental active presence technique, while the control groups were managed using parental passive presence technique. The overall behavior was assessed at the end of the visit. Data was analyzed using Chi-square test and logistic regression analysis. Results: The parental active presence technique had significant effect on children with high and low intelligence quotients. There were significantly higher odds of positive behavior in high than low intelligence quotient children, (OR 4.08, 95% CI 1.43, 11.67, P = 0.01). The parental active presence technique had significantly higher odds of positive behavior than the parental passive presence technique, (OR 4.08, 95% CI 1.71, 9.76, P = 0.002). Conclusions: The parental active presence technique had positively influenced the children’s overall behavior irrespective of their intelligence levels. This trial was retrospectively registered, trial identifier number: NCT04580316, 8/11/2020.

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Faculty of Dentistry

Subject Area

Health Sciences, General Dentistry

Indexed in Scopus


Indexed in Web Of Science







Behavior modification, Intelligence quotient, Parental active/passive presence, Preschool children, Stanford Binet intelligence scale