The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that every child be seen by a pediatric dentist by age 1. It also encourages parents and other care providers to help every child establish a dental home by this age as well. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry modeled the concept of the dental home based on the current medical home concept in pediatric medicine.
Originally created as the center of a child’s medical records, and specifically for persons with special health care needs, the medical home is a team-based health care delivery model led by a health care provider that is intended to provide comprehensive and continuous medical care to patients. With evolving health care perspectives, a modern dental home is the same — a cultivated partnership between the patient, family, and pediatric dentist in cooperation with other dental and oral health care specialists. It was created as a cost-effective and higher quality health care alternative to emergency care situations. It encourages parents to help establish their child’s dental home before problems arise.
Headed by a pediatric dentist, the dental home should provide comprehensive oral health care including emergency, preventive, and restorative treatment of oral disease. Anticipatory guidance about growth and development, as well caries risk and periodontal disease risk assessment are also to be provided. Furthermore, a plan for dental emergency due to trauma should be established, dietary counseling provided, and education about the importance of proper oral health care for children should be taught and reviewed with the new parents.
What this all really means is that it’s best to meet your pediatric dentist as early as possible. The same ways pediatricians are trained to meet child’s medical needs; pediatric dental specialists are uniquely qualified to deliver oral health care to infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. They have additional training and education beyond dental school and are the true experts in oral health care for your child. They also know when it is appropriate to get another type of specialist involved in your child’s care.
All studies show that the earlier the first visit, the better chance your child has of a cavity-free smile. It also gets a child to become familiar with the dental environment, doctors, and staff. Good oral health is an important part of your child’s teeth. At the pediatric dental office you will learn how to clean and protect your child’s teeth. Every child should have the opportunity for the best dental care possible, and it’s never too early to find a dental home for your child. Treat your child to a pediatric dentist.