Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of immersive VR (IVR) and non-immersive VR (NIVR) distraction on perceived pain during intraoral injections in children undergoing dental procedures. The objective was to introduce 3-dimensional nature of virtual reality during the provoking phase of dental treatment as a means of distraction in children.

Study design: A total of 200 children were selected for the study, 100 for IVR group and 100 for NIVR group. After randomization, children were introduced to Oculus Go Standalone equipment; MCDAS (f), VAS, WBFRS and the treatment procedure using tell show do technique. Group I children were introduced to oculus go standalone headset with hand held controller to play temple run or roller coaster game while in group II, children watched cartoon movies of their choice. Pre-operative & post-operative MCDAS scores were obtained using MCDAS (f) questionnaire in local language. Post-operatively, VAS and WBFRS scores were also obtained. The data was analyzed using independent t-test and chi-square analysis.

Results: Pre-operatively, the mean MCDAS scores were similar in both the groups viz. Group–I (29.20 ± 3.197) and Group–II (29.09 ± 3.803) and is statistically not significant. Post-operatively, the mean MCDAS scores were higher in non-immersive group (20.72 ± 2.822) as compared to immersive group (10.99 ± 2.227). VAS score was higher in non-immersive group (2.72 ± 0.99) as compared to immersive group (0.75 ± 0.88). WBFRS scores were higher in non-immersive group (2.78 ± 1.097) as compared to immersive group (0.82 ± 1.104).

Conclusion: Three-dimensional virtual reality was found to be an effective means of distraction in children undergoing dental procedures and especially during the provoking phase. The significant difference obtained clearly indicates irrespective of immersiveness of virtual reality, anxiety had been decreased and on comparison the pain perception to intraoral injection is less in immersive virtual reality environment. Immersive VR distraction technique can serve as an adjunct to traditional behavior management strategies already available to the pediatric dentist.

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