Behavior Guidance

Basic Behavior Guidance:

  • As pediatric specialists, our team is trained to use a variety of non-pharmacologic behavior guidance approaches to help your child have a positive dental experience.

  • We employ these child focused strategies in all of our patient encounters, from exams and cleanings to restorative treatment. 

    • We explain procedures in child-friendly terms appropriate for your child's comprehension level. We highly encourage parents not to use terms such as "shot", "drill", or "pain" when referring to dental visits as this will increase a child's anxiety during dental treatment. 

    • ​We use the Tell-Show-Do method to introduce new experiences. ​

      • Tell: Explain what will happen next ("we are going to brush with the spinning toothbrush") 

      • Show: Let child see and feel the brush on their finger

      • Do: Performing the procedure (brushing teeth)​​​

    • Distraction: Storytelling, movies

    • Modeling: Watching older cooperative siblings enjoying their visits

    • Desensitization: Short and easy visits scheduled specifically to reduce dental fear and anxiety 

    • Positive reinforcement for good behavior: Verbal praise, balloon animals, prizes

Nitrous Oxide

  • Nitrous oxide ('laughing gas') may be recommended by the dentist in order to keep your child comfortable during dental treatment, therefore allowing treatment to be performed effectively and safely.​

  • Nitrous oxide is a very safe, non-addictive colorless and odorless gas that is is combined with oxygen and is breathed through the nose. Nitrous has a rapid onset and offset. All protective reflexes are maintained and children remain fully conscious and able to respond to questions during administration. 

  • Nitrous oxide helps to relieve anxiety, provides limited analgesia (pain relief), and reduces the gag reflex. It also aids in distraction and increases a child’s ability to sit still for longer appointments. A child will feel a sense of relaxation, and may report a feeling of tingling of the hands or feet.

  • A child needs to be able to breathe through his or her nose in order for laughing gas to work properly.. Congestion/ respiratory illness or crying will make nitrous oxide ineffective. If your child has respiratory congestion please call our office as the appointment may need to be rescheduled. 

          

  • Eating prior to nitrous oxide can cause nausea or vomiting. Your child should have nothing to eat for 3 hours before the scheduled appointment (sips of water are okay). If your child eats prior to the appointment the appointment will need to be rescheduled.

General Anesthesia

  • Treatment under general anesthesia may be indicated for children with special healthcare needs or for young children with extensive dental needs who are extremely uncooperative, fearful, or anxious.

  • General anesthesia is a controlled state of unconsciousness administered and monitored by a medical anesthesiologist.

  • General anesthesia will only be recommended by the dentist if medically necessary in order to safely provide needed dental treatment. When considering treatment under sedation, our goal is to improve dental health while also protecting a child's psychological health.