Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Dentistry



First Advisor

Elizabeth J Berry


Purpose: To understand guardian and child preferences for the appearance of their pediatric dentist. This was a cross-sectional descriptive study using survey methodology with patients and parents that attended the VCU Pediatric Dental clinic.

Methods: A total sample of 100 guardians and 97 pediatric patient participants completed the computer-based questionnaire. Four subjects were asked to pose for photographs wearing various combinations of attire (professional, casual, white coat, scrubs).

Results: Among guardians, 56% reported preferring a provider in scrubs, with white coat the second most preferred attire (39%) for their children. For pediatric patients, scrubs were still most often selected, but at a lower rate (43%). White coat remained the second most preferred option at 37%.

Conclusions: Children and parents have strong perceptions and preferences regarding their dentists’ attire. The results of this study can be used, by providers, to improve the comfort, and acceptance of care by patients and guardians.


© J.D. Westphal

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission