What exactly is a dental home? Why is it important to have one for my child? And how do I choose?
These are just a few of the questions that you may ask, as a parent, when it comes to looking for and establishing a dental home for your child. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), a ‘dental home is the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, including all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way’. Ideally, your child should have a dental home already by the time he or she reaches the age of one.
This will enable and help your child establish a lifetime of good oral health. Note though that dental homes do not only apply to children, but to a family as a whole!
Having a dental home addresses anticipatory guidance and preventive, acute, and comprehensive oral health care. This is especially true for our children since they are more active in eating and playing. Also when needed, a dental home can refer your child to a dental specialist.
Having a dental home for your child ensures that he or she will receive consistent dental care by a professional pediatric dentist in a setting that is child-friendly. They are experts in their field and they understand the growth and development of children’s teeth and gums. On top of the general dentistry, education received, pediatric dentists, have completed an additional two or three years of specialty training to specifically cater to children’s dental needs. They understand the uniqueness of children’s dental problems and are well-equipped to handle them when necessary. A pediatric dentist will partner with you, as parents, to help your child establish a healthy dental routine.
Pediatric dentists have also made their facilities a more comfortable place for both kids and parents to learn more information about proper dental hygiene and overall dental health. A pediatric dentist’s clinic is physically designed to cater to younger kids who may be intimated if put in an adult dentist clinic set-up. A child-friendly setting may include a welcoming play area, use of smaller dental chairs, and bright and colorful facilities, among others. This is because your child’s comfort and ease play a big role in his or her success in having healthy teeth into adulthood.
Dentists continuously strive to establish rapport and trust with their young patients. This practice encourages your child to let go of dental fears (if he or she has any) and hopefully, understand the value of having healthy teeth and gums as they grow.
We believe that one of the considerations a parent looks for in a dentist and office is its accessibility. It is vital that a parent can immediately have access to a dentist especially when dental emergencies occur, like severe tooth pain or a broken tooth due to an accident. Knowing who to call for times like these can provide relief to a worried parent. That is why we also recommend that you also choose a dentist whose clinic is close to your own home.
With a dental home, your child’s dental health will be surely looked after until he or she reaches adulthood. By the time, the value and habit are already instilled in your kids, providing good and lasting dental health.
A New Year’s Resolution with Teeth: Finding a Dental Home, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry https://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/a-new-years-resolution-with-teeth-finding-a-dental-home-2/
Dental Home: A Concept for Early and Everlasting Smile, ResearchGate (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316350409_Dental_Home_A_Concept_for_Early_and_Everlasting_Smile)
The Dental Home and Oral Health, National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (OHRC) at Georgetown University (https://www.mchoralhealth.org/highlights/dental-home.php)