Pediatric Dentistry of East Lansing

Behavior Management

Helping Kids Overcome Fear

Pediatric Dentist Office Serving East Lansing, Lansing, Dewitt, Okemos, and the Surrounding Areas

Our office has years of experience providing high-quality pediatric dental care to patients throughout the East Lansing, MI area. Our dedicated team of dental specialists have worked with kids of all ages and dispositions, and over the years, we’ve developed the skills and the knowledge to make every visit to our office a pleasant experience for everyone. For many children, though, visiting the dentist can be a scary proposition – and in those cases, behavior management strategies can help.

Behavior Management Techniques for Pediatric Dentistry

Behavior guidance is a series of techniques based on the principles of cognitive science. But properly implementing behavior guidance techniques requires more than just an understanding of the science – it requires a nuanced, caring approach to helping children through dental appointments. At our office, we’ve been working with children for years, and we rely on a variety of behavior management techniques to help make each office visit enjoyable and fun:


This technique is common throughout pediatric dentistry, and it helps to make sure the patient understands what’s happening at all points of the visit. In the first step, we carefully explain (tell) the patient exactly what the procedure entails in language that they can understand. In the second step (show), we’ll demonstrate the steps of the procedure using visual, auditory, and tactile examples. Finally, we’ll perform the procedure exactly as we described it – and thanks to the previous explanations, the patient will already know exactly what’s happening, helping to minimize anxiety.

Voice Control

The human voice is a powerful thing, and young patients are particularly susceptible changes in the tone, pacing, and inflection of an adult’s voice. Every member of our team uses careful application of voice control to help patients stay calm during visits and to direct their attention and behavior in a productive, pleasant way.

Positive Reinforcement

At our office, we are firm believers in positive reinforcement. This technique consists of rewarding desired behaviors using cues like positive voice modulation, positive facial expressions, direct verbal praise, and physical demonstrations of approval like high fives, while avoiding negative feedback like time-outs or reprimands. We believe that guiding children to appropriate behaviors is far more effective than punishing unwanted behavior, and both research and our years of experience have shown the power of positive reinforcement.

Parental Presence or Absence

As a parent, you may or may not wish to be present during different procedures, and there are many conflicting opinions amongst pediatric dentists as to whether or not a parent should accompany the child in a procedure. In general, we’re believers in parental presence for non-sedated procedures, but we’re also happy to handle things if you cannot or wish not to be there. In all cases, we’ll discuss the details of your child’s case with you and come to a decision everyone feels good about.