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The Journal of clinical pediatric dentistry

Salivary cortisol, alpha-amylase and heart rate variation in response to dental treatment in children.


PMID 23342572

Abstract

Anxiety and stress are usually related to the dental treatment situation. The objective was to investigate salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase levels (salivary biomarkers) and heart rate in children undergoing a minor dental procedure (dental prophylaxis). In total, 31 children (range 84-95 months) of both genders without caries or history of dental treatment/pain/trauma were selected. Three saliva samples were gathered: one prior to dental prophylaxis, one immediately after and one ten minutes later. Weight and height were assessed, and heart rate was evaluated prior to and during the procedure. Data were analyzed by correlation tests and t-test/Wilcoxon (alpha = 0.05). Higher cortisol and amylase levels were observed before prophylaxis compared to afterward. Cortisol and amylase levels did not show a significant correlation, nor did salivary biomarkers and body mass index. However, heart rate and amylase levels showed a significant positive correlation. In the studied sample, certain anticipation of the dental treatment was observed because higher cortisol and amylase levels were observed before, rather than after the event; moreover a significant correlation between amylase levels and heart rate was observed Thus, salivary biomarkers may be a valuable tool for evaluating anxiety-producing events, such as dental treatment, in children.

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