Establishing a "Dental Home"
One of the most important aspects of adopting the "dental well child visit" is the value of establishing a dental home, where there is an established relationship between the dentist and the family. Establishing a dental home for children at a very young age can provide preventive care beginning with the child's first tooth.
The dental home enables Dr. Keown to provide the following:
- Provide education relevant to the child's age.
- Gives the family a place to turn if they have a question about oral health or if the child sustains a oral injury and needs immediate attention.
- Allows a place for immediate attention other than the hospital emergency room which can become very stressful and costly. This emergency room experience could likely characterize the child's first dental experience with anxiety rather than a benign examination.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40% of children have cavities (also called dental caries) by the time they reach kindergarten, and dental problems can begin in children as young as 15 months. Also, recent studies have shown that tooth decay in young children's baby teeth is on the rise.
A one-year-old child is much more manageable than apprehensive three-year-old. It is much easier to do a quick exam and educate parents on oral hygiene for a one-year-old than treat an uncooperative three-year-old with dental caries. The focus on the dental well child visit is to very easily examine the infant and educating the parent.
The infant's first visit to Dr. Marcy Keown should be a pleasant experience that will positively influence your child's attitudes about future oral health care.