Establishing an early relationship with a Pediatric Dentist can help prevent problems before they start
When you hear the word “home” your mind is probably filled with images of your living room, your kitchen, and your family. Not many people would associate a dental office with the word “home,” but the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, AAPD, is hoping to change this. For the past decade the AAPD, following the example set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics, has been stressing the importance of children establishing a “dental home.” Pediatricians realized that the old model of simply bringing your child to the doctor when they were sick was ineffective and costly. The same applies to oral health. Preventing a problem from occurring is far better and more effective than treating a problem once it has arisen. It is better to replace a balding car tire early than to ignore or fail to identify the problem until you are fixing a blown-out tire on the side of the road. Similarly, it is more beneficial to identify and fix oral health problems early than to ignore the problem until it becomes an emergency.
Early dental visits can identify high-risk cavity behavior in children
The AAPD describes a dental home as being “inclusive of all aspects of oral health that result from the interaction of the patient, parents, non-dental professionals, and dental professionals.” It is a relationship that develops in order to provide the best preventive care for the patient and to make the patient comfortable with the dental office setting. The AAPD recommends all patients to come in by their first birthday. This “first visit by first birthday” philosophy can help identify potential risk factors that can lead to tooth decay thus helping to prevent pain, difficulty eating, and infection. These early visits also allow the Dentist to inform the parents as to what changes will occur in the child’s dental development and growth. Establishing a dental home early is also cost-effective in that it helps to prevent treatment that may otherwise be needed if potential caries risk activities and practices had not been identified. Establishing a dental home early helps give patients the tools they need to maintain a lifetime of better oral health and make going to the Dentist a positive experience.