Pediatric Behavior Research Team

Clarice Law Lab
Photo of Dr. Clarice Law

Principal Investigator:

Clarice S. Law, D.M.D., M.S.


 The provision of oral health care in the pediatric population involves a collaborative effort between the child patient, the child’s parents, and the healthcare provider. Pediatric Dentists receive advanced training in guiding the behavior of children to “alleviate anxiety, nurture a positive dental attitude, and perform quality oral health care safely and efficiently for infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special health care needs” (from the AAPD Reference Manual, Best Practices section on Behavior Guidance). This typically involves the use of communicative strategies and the application of interpersonal skills that build on the dentist’s relationship with the child and parent. Contemporary influences on parenting and child behavior have made this topic a dynamic area of inquiry. This research team focuses on understanding child behavior in the dental setting and investigating the influences of parents and parenting styles on guidance of child behavior. Previous projects have focused on the influence of parenting style on approval of behavior guidance techniques, the role of fear and defiance on child behavior, and attitudes of parents about dental treatment under sedation or general anesthesia.

Current Projects and Grants

Most projects have departmental funding, with some projects receiving support from the California Society for Pediatric Dentistry.


  • Ahmed I, Shahery S, Law CS. “Child misbehavior in the dental setting is generally assumed to be fear”. CDA Journal (2018) 46(7):423-7
  • Wells MH, Law CS. “Usage of Behavior Guidance Techniques Differs by Provider Characteristics and Practice Demographics”. Pediatric Dentistry (2018) 40(3):201-8.
  • Law CS, Karp JM. “Behavior Guidance Symposium Workshop B Report – Training Implications”. Pediatric Dentistry. (2014) 36(2):154-57
  • Law CS. “The Impact of Changing Parenting Styles on the Advancement of Pediatric Oral Health.” CDA Journal. (2007) 35(3):192-197

Lab Members


This research team focuses on efforts at the resident level. Research projects are initiated and completed by Pediatric Dentistry residents.  Dental students are included as a part of the team and typically participate in data collection and analysis. Some dental students can initiate projects as a part of a team. The team typically does not have opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students, or post-doc fellows.