What is a Dental Home? How Important it is for Infant Oral Health Care?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend establishing a “Dental Home” for your child by one year of age.

The AAPD recommends your child should have his/her first dental visit by 12 months of age or within 6 months of erupting their first tooth (whichever occurs first). Now, the question is what is dental home and how important is it?

What is a Dental Home?

A dental home refers to a dental practice where a child receives ongoing oral health care in a comprehensive, coordinated, and family-centered way. It’s a place where the child feels comfortable and receives regular preventive dental care, treatment, and education about oral health.

Having a dental home helps ensure continuity of dental care and promotes optimal oral health outcomes for children. The dental home is intended to provide a place other than the emergency room for parents.

Benefit of Dental Home for Children

Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care. Early examination and preventive dental care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.

Why My Child Needs to Visit Pediatric Dentist?

One may ask why their child needs to see the dentist so early. The most important reason is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early.

A big concern is Early Childhood Caries (formerly known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing bottle caries). Once a child’s diet includes anything besides breast-milk, erupted teeth are at risk for dental caries “cavities.”

The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.

Plan First Visit to the Pediatric Dentist

You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. If your child is old enough, he/she should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and their staff will explain all dental procedures and answer any questions. The “fuss” concerning the visit, the better.

It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill, blood, pain or hurt. Pediatric dental offices make a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.