The Dental Home and Oral Health
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- The dental home is the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way. The dental home should be established no later than age 12 months and includes referral to dental specialists when appropriate. 1
- Early preventive dental visits may be associated with reduced restorative oral health care visits and related expenditures during the first years of life. 2
- An evidence base for the dental home definition should be developed before professional associations’ policies related to the dental home are updated, consolidated, and promoted. 3
- Despite professional recommendations for the year 1 dental visit, very few children actually have such a visit. 2
- Shortages of both general dentists and pediatric dentists pose a barrier to access to care for large portions of the population, particularly those enrolled in public insurance and residing in rural areas. 4
- Ideally, a dental home should be established when provision of anticipatory guidance to parents or caregivers and application of preventive modalities to children can have a true primary preventive effect, before the occurrence of disease or traumatic injury. 2
- Home visiting models can introduce children and their families to preventive oral health practices, improve oral health literacy, establish dental homes, and provide fluoride varnish applications. 5
- Primary care health professionals have the potential to play an important role in establishing a dental home for children at an early age. 6
- Increasing health professionals’ awareness of the oral health needs of all children, including those with special health care needs, and enhancing health professionals’ ability to meet these needs can facilitate access to oral health services for all children. 7
- Pediatric dentists and general dentists can work together to implement oral health transition plans for adolescents with special health care needs to help ensure successful transitions. 8
- New delivery systems are evolving that better serve children with special health care needs using telehealth-connected interprofessional health care teams and creating virtual dental homes. 9
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry supports provision of preventive oral health services by a dental hygienist under general supervision (i.e., without the presence of the supervising dentist in the treatment facility) following the examination, diagnosis, and treatment plan by the licensed, supervising dentist. 10
- American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Council on Clinical Affairs. 2015. Definition of Dental Home.
- Bhaskar V, McGraw KA, Divaris K. 2014. The importance of preventive dental visits from a young age: Systematic review and current perspectives. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry 20(8):21–27.
- Hammersmith KJ, Siegal MD, Casamassimo PS, Amini H. 2013. Ohio dentists’ awareness and incorporation of the dental home concept. Journal of the American Dental Association 144(6):645–653.
- Logan HL, Guo Y, Dodd VJ, Seleski CE, Catalanotto F. 2014. Demographic and practice characteristics of Medicaid-participating dentists. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 8(21–27).
- Brickhouse TH, Haldiman RR, Evani B. 2013. The impact of a home visiting program on children’s utilization of dental services. Pediatrics (Suppl 2):S147–S152.
- Beil HA, Rozier GR. 2010. Checkup and dental use in children. Pediatrics 126(2):e435–e441.
- Kagihara LE, Huebner CE, Mouradian WE, Milgrom P, Anderson BA. 2011. Parents’ perspectives on a dental home for children with special health care needs. Special Care Dentistry 170–177.
- Bayarsaikhan Z, Cruz S, Neff J, Chi DL. 2015. Transitioning from pediatric to adult dental care for adolescents with special health care needs: Dentist perspectives—Part two. Pediatric Dentistry 37(5):447–451.
- Glassman P, Harrington M, Namakian M, Subar P. 2016. Interprofessional collaboration in improving oral health for special populations. Dental Clinics of North America 60(4):843–856.
- American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Council on Clinical Affairs. 2014. Policy on Workforce Issues and Delivery of Oral Health Care Service in Dental Home.
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