Why Is a Dental Home Important?

father and child brushing teethRight up there with a real fear of the dark or a fear of imaginary monsters in the closet, is the very real childhood fear of going to the dentist.

Often called dental fear, and just as common for adults as children, this fear can result in nausea, anxiety and panic. It’s more common than parents would hope, and it can be difficult to overcome.

As a parent, how can you help your child overcome their fear of going to the dentist? Recently, the President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry gave some good advice: Find a “dental home” for your child.

Seek out one office and one dentist that can serve as your home base, your child’s consistent team, for all his or her oral health needs. Think of it as an on-going relationship that is fostered through consistent dental check-ups and any time there is a dental problem or emergency. Even though it’s best to be consistent in going to the same dentist starting from the very first visit, it’s never too late to start establishing good habits in a place where your child feels safe.

Having a dental home can be important for several reasons:

  • Consistent exams and prevention mean healthier teeth, gums and kids! Tooth decay is a big problem, and more than half of children will have at least one cavity by age five. A dental home ensures that kids learn good dental habits, and parents too benefit from a knowledgeable source.
  • You know who to call in an emergency, such as when a tooth is chipped or knocked out. With kids, it’s best to expect the unexpected and have a plan in place!
  • Professional and personal help that your kids trust. A dental home that caters to children is family-friendly, comfortable and welcoming – not a place of fear or anxiety.

If you’re not sure how to find a good dental home for your child, ask around. Ask school nurses, your children’s friends’ parents, or your pediatrician. A consistent “friend” who is also a dentist can help ensure your kids’ teeth are as healthy as possible.