: The presence of parents during the dental appointment can affect the child's behaviour and, consequently, the success of the treatment.AIM: This systematic review aimed to evaluate whether parents' presence in the operatory room influences children's behaviour, anxiety and fear during dental treatment.
: EMBASE, Cochrane Library, LILACS, PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, OpenGrey and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Databases were searched. Randomized and non-randomized clinical trials in which some measure assessing children's behaviour and/or anxiety and fear during dental treatment with the presence and absence of parents were included. Two reviewers assessed studies for selection, extracted data, evaluated bias (Joanna Briggs Institute) and graded the certainty of evidence (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation). Random-effects meta-analyses using mean difference (MD) and narrative synthesis were performed.
: A total of 2846 papers were identified, and after a 2-phase selection, sixteen studies were included (five in meta-analyses). There was no difference in children's behaviour in the presence or absence of parents (P = .23, P = .40, P = .60 and P = .89, respectively). The presence or absence of parents did not influence children's anxiety (P = .94 and P = .97) or fear (DM: -0.08; CI:-0.34-0.19, P = .24). All included studies presented a high risk of bias, and the certainty of evidence was considered to be very low.
: It is concluded that parents' presence in the operation room does not influence children's (up to 12 years old) behaviour, anxiety and fear during dental treatment with very low certainty of evidence. Methodological limitations of included studies, however, suggest that better designed trials are needed to adequately understand this issue.
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