Behavior Management Methods

As specialists in pediatric dentistry, we offer a combination of behavior management methods that may help your child be more relaxed and confident during dental treatment. We will recommend the best behavior management method for your child, based on their health history, emotional and intellectual development, dental needs, special health care needs and parental preferences. Your child may need a combination of these methods. Since each child is unique in development and responds differently to each of these methods, research studies have shown that there is no 100% guarantee of results for any of the methods described below. Working together with you as the parent, we hope to make your child’s visit as comfortable as possible.


Our team explains the treatment in words just right for the child’s age and level of understanding, shows the treatment in a simplified manner and then proceeds with treatment.

Positive Reinforcement:

The child is given praise for any behavior that helps with treatment. Every child does something right during a dental visit.


With this technique, our team will choose treatment words carefully, pass instruments out of the child’s sight and occasionally distract the child’s attention away from the treatment with conversation, music or games. We have overhead TV monitors for your child to watch their favorite DVD, or play video games.

Nitrous Oxide:

Commonly known as “laughing gas” this is a form anesthetic which is very useful in relaxing an anxious child. Children are introduced to an “elephant nose” or an “astronaut mask” that they wear on their noses and can choose to smell “roses”, “pizza”, “choco-chip cookie”, “strawberry” flavors to smell. It is effective only if the child can breathe through their nose, by following directions. It does not put your child to sleep. However, many children become so relaxed that they “nap”.

Oral Conscious Sedation:

This is method of sedation where your child is awake during the procedure and responds to verbal commands. The medications are intended to calm and quiet your child, not to make your child unconscious. At different times, your child may be drowsy, irritable, hyperactive or asleep. Crying may occur when your child is stimulated during the appointment such as during administration of local anesthetic or novocaine. Since each child is unique and responds differently, research studies show that this form of sedation is effective in 70% of the cases. As in each procedure there are pros and cons be sure to discuss your questions or concerns with us. We will work with you to help make an informed decision.

General Anesthesia:

Medically speaking, general anesthesia is an induced state of unconsciousness. In practical terms, the patient is asleep and unable to respond to touch or voices or is simply “knocked out”. It is most often recommended for very young children with extensive treatment needs and/or an inability to communicate and cooperate. Sometimes it may also be the best way to provide treatment for children with special medical / developmental needs. All parents should know that children face the same risk under general anesthesia for dental treatment as for any other surgical procedure. Dental treatment under General Anesthesia will be done as a same day out-patient surgery at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. Parents should talk openly with us about the benefits and risks of this treatment.