Document Type : Research Article
Background: Professional appearance contributes to first impression. Attire choices should plan to balance professional appearance, comfort, and practicality with the potential role of apparel. Attire and appearance could be subject to cultural sensitivity. Moreover, they also could be perceived differently according to gender and pediatric practice. Attires have to be less intimidating and child friendly in pediatric dentistry. Parents harbor conscious and unconscious biases when it comes to the clinical demeanor of dental staff in a hospital. Dental staff needs to focus on their attire which would help in building quick rapport and trust in children and parents. This study portrays the perceptions of parents towards the dental staff in pediatric department in a hospital.
Aims and objective: To assess parental attitudes towards dental assistant attire, to find out effect of positive changes that would make children and their parents more comfortable.
Methodology: Data was collected using a validated questionnaire from 101 parents attending the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.
Results: This study revealed that parents place a great deal of emphasis on dental staff attire. Parents mainly favored formal attire as they believed in “targeted attire to improve likelihood of rapport” (TAILOR). Parent’s ranked multicolored apron with buttons closed with the name tags on the left side. They preferred the male assistants to be clean shaven and females to have tied hair and groomed nails with minimal accessories. 89% of the parents felt that assistants could play the role of oral educators.
Conclusion: The results obtained from this study can help dental staff decide what is appropriate to wear in pediatric dental clinic so as to minimize anxiety and improve delivery of health care. Professionalism is multi-factorial and is vital in engendering a way of comfort and confidence during treatment. The nonverbal communication attributed to an attire/appearance can play a major role in the child-dentist relationship. Making small changes in one’s appearance can have a big impact on decreasing the anxiety levels of the child.