Behavior Management and Sedation Dentistry

Behavior Management

We understand that children are unique and cope best with newer experiences when theyre adequately prepared. To help them achieve a favorable experience, we utilize various behavior management techniques, such as Tell-Show-Do, role-play, distraction, and positive reinforcement. We have 3D TVs in all our treatment rooms, and fun presents to choose from at the end of every visit.

Sedation Dentistry

Our pediatric dentists will practice a behavior management technique (such as the “tell-show-do” technique) to make dental treatment more pleasant and fun. For young patients or anxious patients, however, sedation dentistry offers a safe, comfortable dental treatment for your child.

Sedation dentistry is a method of managing pain and anxiety during professional dental care through the use of medication. Here are some treatment options we may discuss during your visit.

1. Local anesthesia

Many procedures can be performed with the use of local anesthesia, commonly referred to as Novocaine even though Lidocaine, Mepivicain, and Articaine are more often used. All these drugs numb the area where the work will be performed, and wear off within a few hours. After placing topical anesthetic to desensitize the injection site, a syringe of the local anesthesia is administered.

Care of the Mouth After Local Anesthetic

If the procedure is done in the lower jaw, the tongue, teeth, lips, and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep. If it’s done in the upper jaw, the lip and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep.

Children often don’t understand the effects of local anesthesia and may chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numbed lip, tongue, or cheek. These reactions can cause minor irritation, or they can be severe enough to cause swelling and abrasions.

Monitor your child closely for about two hours following the appointment, and keep her or him on a liquid or soft diet until the anesthetic has worn off. Please do not hesitate to call our office with any questions.

2. Nitrous Oxide

Some patients are given nitrous oxide/oxygen, or what is commonly called “laughing gas,” to relax them for treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases: oxygen and nitrous oxide. The blend is given through a small breathing mask placed over the child’s nose. The gas allows the patient to relax, but without putting him or her to sleep. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, the patient remains fully conscious and retains all natural reflexes.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this technique as safe and effective for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is mild, non-addictive, easily taken, and with normal breathing, quickly eliminated from the body.

Prior to Your Appointment

  • Please inform us of any change to your child’s health or medical condition.
  • Tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child, because it could limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen.
  • Let us know if your son or daughter is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.

3. IV Sedation or General Anesthesia

We also offer IV sedation or general anesthesia in cases where the work is extensive or the child does not do well with conscious sedation. We work the Dr. Alex Targ, who is Stanford and UCSF trained, ACLS certified, and has a current California Dental Bord “General Anesthesia Permit.” Please visit Dr. Targ’s website at for more information about him and this type of anesthesia.

We also offer IV sedation or general anesthesia in cases where the work is extensive or the child does not do well with nitrous oxide.

4. Silver Diamine Fluoride

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an alternative interim treatment that controls the active cavity for patients who cannot undergo IV sedation or nitrous oxide sedation. SDF is a simple and noninvasive way to treat carious lesions (cavities), and it can be done from the comfort of our dental office.