Behaviour Guidance

A pediatric dentist's average day in the office includes a number of encounters with children who are initially not cooperative. Sometimes this uncooperative behavior is a result of a child being anxious in a new and foreign environment. Other times it is simply a child manifesting some recently appreciated control in their lives.

Fear of the unknown is usually handled quite easily using several basic behavior guidance tools.
These are:

Tell/Show/Do - a technique that involves explanation of procedures in age-appropriate levels (Tell), demonstration of the procedure in a carefully defined, nonthreatening setting (Show) and then without deviating from the explanation and demonstration, completion of the procedure (Do).

Dental instruments and materials

Positive Reinforcement - positive feedback is used to reward desired behavior and strengthen the recurrence of these behaviors.

The children were given small gifts after the successful examination or treatment for positive reinforcement.

The “Achievement Diploma” given to children after the successful completion of a required number of dental treatment.

Modeling - a technique that involves allowing children to observe activities that are new to them by watching other more experienced children engage in these activities.

Wright GZ, Stigers JI.  Nonpharmacologic management of children’s behaviors. In: Dean JA, Avery DR, McDonald RE. Dentistry for the child and adolescent. St. Louis, Mosby Elsevier, 9th ed., 2011, p:27-40.