• anxiety music;
  • nursing;
  • randomised controlled trial;
  • root canal treatment;
  • Taiwan

Objectives.  The purpose of this randomised investigator-blind controlled trial is to examine the effects of music on the state anxiety and physiological indices among patients undergoing root canal treatment.

Design.  Randomised controlled trial.

Methods.  Purposive sampling was used to recruit 44 adult subjects. The subjects were randomly assigned to the treatment and the control group. There were 22 subjects in each group. Subjects in the music group listened to selected sedative music using headphones throughout the root canal treatment procedure. The control group subjects worn headphones but without the music. Using a repeated measures design with a single pretest and five posttests, the subjects’ heart rate, blood pressure and finger temperature were measured before the study and every 10 minutes until the end of the root canal treatment procedure. Anxiety was measured before the study and at the end of the treatment procedure.

Results.  The results revealed that there were no significant differences between the two groups for baseline data and procedure-related characteristics, except for gender. However, the subjects in the music group showed a significant increase in finger temperature and a decrease in anxiety score over time compared with the control group. The effect size for state anxiety and finger temperature was 0·34 and 0·14 respectively.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The findings provide evidence for nurses and dentists that the use of soothing music for anxiety reduction in patients undergoing root canal treatment procedures is supported by research findings.