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Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry Official publication of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 154-158

Credibility of YouTube™ videos on root canal treatment in children

Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Christian Dental College, Ludhiana, Punjab, India

Date of Submission05-Apr-2022
Date of Decision19-May-2022
Date of Acceptance03-Jun-2022
Date of Web Publication15-Jul-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Joe Mathew Cherian
Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Christian Dental College, Ludhiana - 141 008, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jisppd.jisppd_171_22

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Background: A lot of videos on root canal treatment in children are available on YouTube™ but no quality checks are present. Addressing this is critical so that parents and dentists know why root canal in children is important including the explanation of procedural steps regarding treatment undertaken. Aim: The aim of this study is to analyze and grade YouTube™ videos on root canal treatment in children and assess whether it provides beneficial information for patients and dentists. Materials and Methods: Variables such as number of views, duration (minute), days since upload, number of comments, number of likes, number of dislikes, interaction index, and viewing rate were tabulated for selected 57 videos. Statistical Analysis: Selected videos were statistically analyzed using a 15-point scoring system and evaluated using SPSS software. Finally, the obtained data sets were classified as low-, moderate-, and high-content videos. Fisher's exact test was used to compare between proportions. Results: Based on the tabulated variables, most of the videos were low (n = 31) and moderate content (n = 24), which dentists mostly uploaded. There was no statistical significance between the video types and content score groups (P > 0.05). The most frequently mentioned issues were procedure (84.21%), obturating materials (75.44%), and etiology (63.16%). The least mentioned subjects were indications (24.56%) and importance (22.81%). Conclusion: From this study, YouTube™ videos on root canal treatment in children were of low and moderate quality. Hence, high-quality videos are essential for providing awareness among patients and dentists.

Keywords: Pulpectomy, pulpotomy, root canal treatment

How to cite this article:
Varghese NS, Cherian JM, Thomas AM. Credibility of YouTube™ videos on root canal treatment in children. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2022;40:154-8

How to cite this URL:
Varghese NS, Cherian JM, Thomas AM. Credibility of YouTube™ videos on root canal treatment in children. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 11];40:154-8. Available from: http://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2022/40/2/154/351042

   Introduction Top

Pediatric dentistry has evolved from an extraction-oriented practice where primary teeth with inflamed pulp mainly were extracted to a specialty emphasizing prevention of oral and dental diseases. Restorative and endodontic management is gaining importance as primary teeth aid in maintaining the integrity of the dental arch, prevent malocclusion, allow proper speech and mastication, and provide esthetics and additional goal of guiding the eruption of permanent teeth.[1] Parents often go unnoticed about their child's tooth decay and visit the dental specialist when they complain of pain. In such instances, simple restorative measures no longer remain an option. Finally, root canal treatment becomes an inevitable option.

A wide range of health-related issues is easily accessed through social media. YouTube™ remains the most preferred source of information after “Google” and “Facebook.” YouTube™ is the most popular video hosting website having 2 billion active users until October 2020 and the most extensive catalog of online videos.[2] The most advantageous feature which promotes YouTube™ is the easy availability at our fingertips free of cost. Often treatment gets delayed since people rely on the information from YouTube™ rather than direct hospital visits to save time. Parents search YouTube™ for acquiring knowledge and awareness regarding the treatment. Pediatric dentist's crucial role comes into play in this scenario since they could provide quality content and information regarding treatment. Health-care professionals or layman people can upload the videos on YouTube™, and the experts do not monitor these videos; hence the quality of information is questionable. These can lead to wrong treatment decisions being taken by the parents. Therefore, the study aims to evaluate the quality and content of videos on YouTube™ regarding root canal treatment in children and analyze whether they are helpful for patients and dentists.

   Materials and Methods Top

Search strategy

The survey was conducted on YouTube™ on October 30, 2021, and the videos on root canal treatment in children were searched using the search term “Pulpectomy/Pulpotomy/RCT/Root canal treatment + children/pediatric patients.” Eighty-one were ranked by relevance, and an assessment was made for the quality and accuracy of the information each video provided. Of the 81 videos, 24 were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria. Finally, 57 videos were included in the study [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Flowchart showing search strategy on YouTube™

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Data extraction

The number of views, video duration (minutes), the number of days since upload, and the number of likes, dislikes, and comments were recorded for each video.

The interaction index ([Number of likes − Number of dislikes]/Total Number of views × 100%) and the viewing rates (Number of views/Number of days since upload × 100%) were calculated according to the YouTube™ descriptive data. The selected videos were evaluated in terms of content [Table 1]. A score of 1 was given if the relevant topic was mentioned in the videos and 0 if it was not mentioned.
Table 1: Subject domains analyzed in YouTube™ videos related to root canal in children

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The source of the videos was classified as dental care specialists, commercials (dental clinic promotional videos), laypeople, and others (TV channels, news agencies, etc.). Based on type, videos were classified as educational (providing information about root canals in children, types of root canals in children, symptoms, and treatments) and patient experiences.

Statistical analysis

To assess the quality of the videos, two investigators viewed each video independently and then evaluated it by numerically scoring each video score for the level of completeness. The Kappa value calculated between the two investigators is 0.81 which shows almost perfect agreement between the investigators. In case of disparity, a third investigator assessed the videos and whichever score matched was selected as the final score.

Each video was scored between 0 and 15 according to its content. The videos were divided into three groups using the total content scores as low (0–5 points), moderate (6–10 points), and high content (11–15 points). Finally, data were evaluated using (SPSS software version 20.0; SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Fisher's exact test was used to compare the proportions of categorical outcome variables according to the independent groups.

   Results Top

Search results and included subjects

YouTube™ videos were finalized after the exclusion criteria and 57 videos were tabulated according to the following variables: number of views, duration (minute), days since upload, number of comments, number of likes, number of dislikes, interaction index, and viewing rate. The descriptive statistics of the 57 YouTube™ videos are listed in [Table 2].
Table 2: Descriptive statistics of YouTube™ videos

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Subgroup analysis

Most of the videos were uploaded by dentists (n = 32; 56.14%), commercials (n = 10; 17.54%), layperson (n = 1; 1.75%), and others (n = 14; 24.56%). Based on the type of the videos, most of them were educational videos (53; 92.98%) compared to the videos on patient experience (4; 7.02%) [Table 3]. Two (3.50%) videos were of the high-content group, 31 (54.39%) of the low-content group, and 24 (42.105%) of the moderate-content group. Most of the videos uploaded by dentists fell into the low and moderate category compared to the high category. On analysis, it was found that there was no statistical significance between the content score and uploader variables. Similarly, no statistical significance was found between the video types and content score groups (P > 0.05).
Table 3: Frequency distribution of YouTube™ videos

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The most frequently mentioned issues were procedure (84.21%), obturating materials (75.44%), and etiology (63.16%). The least mentioned subjects were indications (24.56%), importance (22.81%), contraindications (15.79%), classification (8.77%), and complications (3.51%).

The videos in the high content had an increased duration compared to the other two categories. More recent data were observed for moderate- and high-content videos in terms of days since upload. On average, high content had higher “likes” than moderate and low. The mean values of the interaction index for moderate and high groups were comparable, and the viewing rate was high for the moderate-content group compared to the high and low groups [Table 4].
Table 4: Comparison of YouTube™ video characteristics based on the content score groups

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   Discussion Top

With the advent of technology, information is available for any person instantly. The Internet has rapidly grown over the years as the primary source of information on any subject.[3],[4] The main attraction of YouTube™ is the ease of availability of videos that are also free of cost. The disadvantage is that the source of information cannot be verified.[3] A wide variety of health-related topics is available, including dental such as dental implants,[5] early childhood caries,[6] fluoride therapy,[7] dental trauma in pediatric patients,[8] root canal in adults,[9] and oral hygiene training.[3] However, there is no study investigating the quality and reliability of the information on YouTube™ regarding videos on root canal treatment in children.

(Gabarron et al., 2013) stated that popularity is the second most frequently cited quality measure on YouTube™ videos, often defined with view counts. Caution has to be taken while relating popularity as a quality measure, since the number of views can easily be manipulated by, for example, marketing strategies investing in pseudo popularity of products as well as by the YouTube™ viral effect attributed to longer availability or spreading across multiple Web pages of a YouTube™ video, which may account for higher view counts.[10] A general trend among the audience is that people blindly believe that if a video has more likes than dislikes (increased interaction index), it would have more authentic content. This contrast of quality of content versus popularity is visible as the maximum interaction index for high content was only 2.96 and the number of likes was far too low even though the content score was high. Whereas a maximum interaction index of 15.76 was seen for moderate content and 7.69 for low content stating they had more likes, even though the content score was <11. As the days increased upload, the chance of getting outdated information is more. Studies indicate that videos with high content are also longer.[8] A higher mean duration of 15.82 min was seen for high content videos, 5.88 min for moderate content, and 4.22 min for low content. Longer videos can contain higher content quality and are more beneficial for a dental specialist who searches for technical aspects of root canal treatment in children. At the same time, patients and parents might not benefit as there is a higher chance of losing focus due to the longer duration of the videos.[11]

YouTube™ is the most sought-after platform for patients, parents, and health-care professionals for visual learning of root canal and its treatment procedures in children. We can primarily categorize the source of uploaded videos as by dentists, commercials (health-care companies and websites), layman people, and others (TV channels and news agencies). Based on the type of videos, it was classified as educational and patient experiences. Strychowsky et al. 2013 concluded that patient experience videos about their treatment journey have less educational value than the others.[12] Similarly, in this present study, videos that were primarily academic focused on providing information on the relevant topic. In contrast, patient experience mainly focused on the patient's anxiety level, and more importance was given to the promotion of the dental service provider rather than providing health information. From analyzed data in the present study, it was concluded that most of the videos were uploaded by dentists (n = 32; 56.14%), and they were mainly educational videos (n = 53; 92.98%). Similarly, in this current study, it was observed that the quality of the content of the uploaded videos by dentists fell mostly in the moderate category (n = 17; 29.82% of total sample size) and low category (n = 14; 24.56% of total sample size) rather than high content (n = 1; 1.75% of total sample size).

The mean value of the total content score obtained from the present study is 5.75, ranging from a minimum value of 1 to a maximum value of 13 (maximum possible content score = 15). This indicates that most of the videos uploaded are of moderate and low content, which was concluded from the above obtained mean value even though a large proportion of these videos were uploaded by dentists (n = 14 out of 57; low content) (n = 17 out of 57; moderate content). Similar observations were made by Tozar et al. 2021 showed that since the majority of the videos were uploaded by dentists; it was thought that these videos would be of high content, but there was no direct correlation between these.[8]) The videos uploaded by people as a marketing strategy would have monetary benefits as a motive and would mainly focus on the advantage and ultimately result in incomplete information being passed on. Videos from educational institutions without financial benefits can alleviate the above-said point as they would cover the advantage and disadvantages of the subject.

Dental decay of teeth is usually higher in children, which would worsen over time and often lead to adverse effects on teeth. When indicated, parents are often naive toward root canal treatment, fearing that the child would not be cooperative toward the procedure. The parents, too, would have anxiety toward the root canal treatment. When indicated, parents often search for root canal treatment on YouTube™. The present study showed that the procedural step (84.2%) was given more stress rather than the need for preservation (importance) of the primary teeth (22.8%) and complications arising from the denial of treatment (3.5%). Even though the procedural step is essential, it would be more advantageous to people with dental backgrounds than parents. Parents should be more educated about the importance and complications of the treatment before entering the technical aspects. This study showed that most of the videos have failed to emphasize the importance of root canal treatment in children for parents. Bezner et al. 2014 in the study showed that there is no peer review process to assess the credibility of information and blind authorship is common, and videos frequently provide an incomplete representation of a topic.[13]

There is a massive leap in the digitalization of every field, and we can easily predict that Internet usage will remain a crescendo. Considering the above fact, it is vital that pediatric dentists take the necessary steps to provide more videos containing higher content and adequate span to patients and parents.

   Conclusion Top

It can be seen from the study that most of the videos on root canal treatment in children were of moderate and low content. As no quality checks are done on the uploaded health-related data, the responsibility becomes two-fold. First, it lies on the uploader to ensure scientific backing and accuracy of the data provided. Second, the responsibility lies in the viewer to select appropriate information by validating the source of upload. Pediatric dentistry societies and dental schools should take the initiative to provide more high-quality videos on patient education and procedural explanation.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Fuks A, Peretz B. Pediatric Endodontics. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 1
Published 2021. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List of online video platforms. [Last acessed on 2021 Dec 27].  Back to cited text no. 2
Duman C. YouTube™ quality as a source for parent education about the oral hygiene of children. Int J Dent Hyg 2020;18:261-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Ozdede M, Peker I. Analysis of dentistry youtube videos related To COVID-19. Braz Dent J 2020;31:392-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
Menziletoglu D, Guler A, Isik B. Are YouTube videos related to dental implant useful for patient education? J Stomatol Oral Maxillofac Surg 2020;121:661-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
ElKarmi R, Hassona Y, Taimeh D, Scully C. YouTube as a source for parents' education on early childhood caries. Int J Paediatr Dent 2016;27:437-43.  Back to cited text no. 6
Basch CH, Blankenship EB, Goff ME, Yin J, Basch CE, DeLeon AJ, et al. Fluoride-related YouTube videos: A cross-sectional study of video contents by upload sources. J Dent Hyg 2018;92:47-53.  Back to cited text no. 7
Tozar K, Yapıcı Yavuz G. Reliability of information on YouTube™ regarding pediatric dental trauma. Dent Traumatol 2021;37:772-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
Nason K, Donnelly A, Duncan H. YouTube as a patient-information source for root canal treatment. Int Endod J 2015;49:1194-200.  Back to cited text no. 9
Gabarron E, Fernandez-Luque L, Armayones M, Lau A. Identifying measures used for assessing quality of youtube videos with patient health information: A review of current literature. Interact J Med Res 2013;2:e6.  Back to cited text no. 10
Delli K, Livas C, Vissink A, Spijkervet F. Is YouTube useful as a source of information for Sjögren's syndrome? Oral Dis 2016;22:196-201.  Back to cited text no. 11
Strychowsky J, Nayan S, Farrokhyar F, MacLean J. YouTube: A good source of information on pediatric tonsillectomy? Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 2013;77:972-5.  Back to cited text no. 12
Bezner SK, Hodgman EI, Diesen DL, Clayton JT, Minkes RK, Langer JC, et al. Pediatric surgery on YouTube™: is the truth out there? J Pediatr Surg 2014;49:586-9.  Back to cited text no. 13


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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