The AAPD supports the concept of a dental home for all infants. Children that belong to a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive services and routine oral health care. It is recommended a dental home be established by the age of 12 months since it will institute appropriate caries preventive strategies, dietary recommendations and oral hygiene instruction as the primary teeth begin to erupt.
Previously, many thought a dental visit by the age of 36 months was appropriate, but it has changed because by that time it was already too late and caries were already present in many children. A dental home also provides the child with comprehensive oral care, acute care and preventive services. It should include and be able to provide a comprehensive assessment for oral diseases and conditions and specially assess the risk for developing caries.
Individualized preventive dental programs based upon caries risk are extremely important to tailor a correct prevention plan and periodic reevaluation intervals for the child. The dental home will provide a structured referral system if necessary.
An oral health risk assessment for infants by 6 months of age allows instituting appropriate preventive strategies as the primary dentition begins to erupt.
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