Understanding children's attention to traumatic dental injuries using eye-tracking

Vanessa Y. Cho, Janet H. Hsiao, Antoni B. Chan, Hien C. Ngo, Nigel M. King, Robert P. Anthonappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aim: Traumatic dental injuries (TDIs) in the primary dentition may result in tooth discolouration and fractures. The aim of this child-centred study was to explore the differences between preschool children's eye movement patterns and visual attention to typical outcomes following TDIs to primary teeth. Materials and Methods: An eye-tracker recorded 155 healthy preschool children's eye movements when they viewed clinical images of healthy teeth, tooth fractures and discolourations. The visual search pattern was analysed using the eye movement analysis with the Hidden Markov Models (EMHMM) approach and preference for the various regions of interest (ROIs). Results: Two different eye movement patterns (distributed and selective) were identified (p <.05). Children with the distributed pattern shifted their fixations between the presented images, while those with the selective pattern remained focused on the same image they first saw. Conclusions: Preschool children noticed teeth. However, most of them did not have an attentional bias, implying that they did not interpret these TDI outcomes negatively. Only a few children avoided looking at images with TDIs indicating a potential negative impact. The EMHMM approach is appropriate for assessing inter-individual differences in children's visual attention to TDI outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-416
Number of pages7
JournalDental Traumatology
Issue number5
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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