Type to search

Pediatric Dentistry Restorative Dentistry

What is the continuum of behaviour guidance?

This is a summary of the article published in the Dental Clinics of North America: The continuum of behaviour guidance (January 2013)



Most treatments provided within the comprehensive dental care of children are relatively simple, yet many practitioners find that delivering high-quality care to young children is challenging simply because they are performed on a child.

The provision of dental care to children presents unique challenges and opportunities. To effectively treat children, providers must be prepared to address child behavior and leverage appropriate behavior guidance techniques.

Key Messages

  • Behavior guidance is a continuum of skills spanning from basic to advanced techniques.
  • Providing care to children requires understanding of the full continuum.
  • Patient assessment includes anticipation of parental expectations, child temperament, and technical procedures. It dictates the appropriate behavior guidance technique for each child.
  • Basic behavior guidance encompasses communicative behavior guidance, audiovisual distraction, nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation, and delayed or alternative restorative treatment.
  • Advanced behavior guidance encompasses protective stabilization, sedation, and general anesthesia. Its use should be restricted to those who have advanced training.
  • By implementing the appropriate behavior guidance strategy, a healing relationship is maintained and the child is equipped to receive dental treatment throughout their lifetime.


Do you have any particular question on this topic? Do you have any comments or suggestions? Email us at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca

You are invited to comment on this post and provide further insights by posting in the comment box which you will find by clicking on “Post a reply“ below. You are welcome to remain anonymous and your email address will not be posted.  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *