Children with balloons - Anderson & Sheppard Pediatric Dentists in Roanoke, VA

Concerning the Dental Home for children, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has stated “This concept is derived from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) definition of a medical home which states pediatric primary health care is best delivered where comprehensive, continuously-accessible, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally-effective care is available and delivered or supervised by qualified child health specialists. The AAP issued a policy statement defining the medical home in 1992. Since that time, it has been shown that health care provided to patients in a medical home environment is more effective and less costly in comparison to emergency care facilities or hospitals.”

This pediatric dental care may involve, but not be limited to, comprehensive examination and assessment, design of a comprehensive preventive plan, guidance of growth and development, routine and comprehensive restorative dental care, dietary counseling, plan for dental trauma, and planning for continuing oral health care into adulthood.

The following organizations recommend that children have their first dental examination appointment within six months of the eruption of the first tooth, or by the first birthday, in order to establish a “Dental Home” for your child.

  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians
  • The American Dental Hygienists’ Association
  • The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Maternal & Child Oral Health Resource Center
  • Most state Medicaid programs
  • Private dental insurance companies

Our office is in agreement with these numerous well known authoritative organizations in recommending that all children have their first dental examination appointment within six months of the eruption of the first tooth or by the first birthday.

Dental offices recommending initial examination appointments for children at ages older that the first birthday may also not be offering other services indicated for the comprehensive dental care for your child. Beware of general dental offices, family dental offices, and cosmetic dental offices that may appear to be pediatric dental offices. If you are uncertain of their training, you should feel free to ask them if the dentists are Board-eligible or Board-certified pediatric dentists. Usually, the dentists who recommend first dental visits later than the first birthday (sometimes at 3 years of age, 5 or 6 years of age, or when the child is ready to begin school) are not pediatric dentists and may have limited training in the care of children. . Most dentists who refer children to pediatric dentists for dental care are not pediatric dentists.

Starting at Age 1

The Dental Home is intended to provide a place other than the Emergency Room for parents.

Pleasant First Visit

When the child is seen at one year, the first visit can be pleasant and uneventful, introducing the child and parents to the dental office. Emphasis is on the developmental assessment of the child’s oral health. Caries (tooth decay) or developmental disturbances can be managed early. Fluoride varnish may be applied to counteract beginning decay on newly erupted teeth. Recommendations may be made for the improvement of your child’s short term and long term dental health.

Five Steps for Baby’s First Dental Visit

Step 1: Clinical Examination by Age 12 Months
  • Complete medical history
  • Knee-to-knee exam with guardian
  • Note clinical dental caries
  • Soft tissue irregularities
  • White-spot lesions, tongue anatomy
  • Enamel decalification, hypoplasia
  • Dietary staining

Step 2: Caries Risk Assessment
  • Bottle or breast fed at night on demand
  • Non-water in bedtime bottle
  • Decalcification/caries present
  • No oral home care
  • Sugary foods, snacks

Step 3: Diet Counseling for Infants
  • No juice or milk in bed
  • Sippy cups can encourage decay
  • Avoid sugar drinks, sodas
  • Encourage variety and a balanced diet
  • Low-sugar snacks
  • Fluorides – topical and systemic

Step 4: Oral Home Care for Infants
  • Brush/massage teeth and gums 2x daily
  • Small, soft toothbrush
  • Tiny amount of toothpaste, with Fluoride
  • Guidance on thumb sucking, pacifier
  • Response for home accidents, trauma

Step 5: Future Visit
  • Based on Risk Assessment
  • At six month intervals