Anticipatory Guidance

Anticipatory guidance is when a provider counsel’s parents on physical, psychological, and emotional milestones so that they are prepared and can guide their child through these events. This should occur at each visit and will change as the child gets older. The more that the parent understands about the importance of the primary dentition, the more likely they will be to help with oral hygiene on a daily basis and seek appropriate care when necessary. This will also guide the parent on how to recognize when there is a delay in development or when something out of the ordinary is going on.2 The infant compared to a school aged child, lives in a broader, more complex world and treatment and prevention needs to be tailored to that specific child.

Counseling should include:

  • Addressing protective factors to prevent oral health problems
  • Oral hygiene
  • Dietary counseling
  • Fluoride
  • Oral growth and development issues
  • Oral/non-nutritive habits (pacifier use)
  • Acute dental trauma/injury prevention
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