The AAPD recommends that every child has a dental home within six months of eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age.2 (This will ensure that parents receive the appropriate recommendations on caries prevention and how to maintain optimal oral health for their child). The dentist and staff will ensure that parents receive dietary recommendations and proper oral hygiene instructions. Having this information as the first teeth begin to erupt will make it more likely that the child will be able to avoid early childhood caries.
Besides preventative care, establishing a dental home early on will ensure that the child receives the proper care in times of trauma and when in need of acute care.
According to the AAPD the dental home should provide:3
comprehensive family centered care
acute and preventative care
assess oral health and diseases
tailored care and plan for each patient
growth and development guidance
care for acute and chronic pain or infection
care instructions for the oral cavity
referral to the appropriate specialist when necessary
referral to adult dentist when the time is appropriate and transition