May 2020 Volume LV Number 3


Policy Center Updates

May 2020 Volume LV Number 3

 Top Policy Messages for Pediatric Dentistry
You and your pediatric dental team have opportunities to spread the message of your profession as the "big authority on little teeth" not just in your practice, but in your community. Here are 12 compelling policy messages to share with patients, parents and personal contacts.
  1. Schedule your child’s first dental visit by the first birthday or when the first tooth comes in, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Academy of Pediatrics.
  2. Early dental visits protect children’s teeth and their parents’ budget. Children who are four years or older at their first visit have total dental costs of $360 more than children whose first dental visit is younger than four years.
  3. Find your child a Dental Home before there is a dental problem. Choosing a dentist is too important a decision to do in a hurry or an emergency situation.
  4. Tooth decay is the most common chronic early childhood disease in the United States, affecting more than one in five children by kindergarten.
  5. Tooth decay can make a child more vulnerable to infections in other parts of the body, such as the ears, sinuses and brain.
  6. A child with a healthy mouth has an easier time eating, speaking, sleeping, playing, going to school and paying attention in class.
  7. Children with poor oral health are nearly three times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain.
  8. Pediatric dentists have two to three years of specialized training after dental school in child growth and development, special health care needs, and advanced treatment techniques in hospital settings. Plus they LOVE kids.
  9. Lots of kids actually like going to the dentist. Pediatric dentists stand ready with a variety of methods to help each child feel comfortable with dental treatment.
  10. The right amount of fluoride is great for kid’s oral health – a small smear or rice-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste for children under three years old and a pea-sized amount for children aged three to six years.
  11. Most cavities in children occur in places that sealants could have protected. Decay in the pits and valleys on back teeth accounts for nearly half of the cavities in baby teeth and four out of five cavities in permanent back teeth.
  12. Pediatric dentists are the dental professionals of choice for children with special health care needs, representing nearly one in five of our nation’s children and adolescents.
We Have Your Slides Ready
Another way to spread the news about research-based recommendations for pe- diatric dental care is to give a presentation to interested audiences in your community. Big News for Little Teeth is a new slideshow the AAPD has created for members to use during speaking engagements. Visually ap- pealing, the presentation gathers the latest information and research on topics such as oral health care, oral hygiene, nutrition, injury prevention and more. Potential audiences include expecting parents as well as parents/caregivers of infants, toddlers, school-age children, adolescents and teenagers. It also works for school teachers, social workers, public health professionals and the like. This members-only resource can be downloaded free at
Test Your Safety I.Q.
TRUE OR FALSE: Reporting patient safety events creates mistrust within your practice.
FALSE. Reporting fosters trust, especially when staff recognize that their efforts in reporting lead to organizational improvements. This outcome is dependent on a fair and just culture that embraces learning, however, so that staff don’t fear punitive measures for speaking up. Because of the reinforcing nature of this cycle, this method is known as the Trust-Report- Improve Process.
Surveillance and reporting are critical aspects of safety in dentistry. The identification of hazards and unsafe conditions right away can nip problems in the bud before they become a near miss or even an adverse event. Longer term, this process identifies patterns of risk in the operating systems of your practice and their root causes, so you can develop a tailored ap- proach to preventing safety incidents.
Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD) Committee Update
The EBD Committee continues to oversee the evidence-based clinical practice guidelines currently under development:
  • Clinical Practice Guidelines for use of Non-Vital Pulp Therapies in Primary Teeth,
  • Clinical Practice Guideline on Behavior Guidance for Pediatric Dental Patients, and
  • Clinical Practice Guideline on Frenectomy/Frenotomy and Lactation for Pediatric Dental Patients.
The Non-Vital Pulp Therapy Clinical Practice Guideline is in the final review stages and scheduled for publication in 2020, along with the systematic review. The Behavior Guidance Guideline Workgroup is awaiting the publication of the Cochrane systematic review on "non- pharmacological interventions for managing dental anxiety in children" and have added two new content experts to their team.
Oral Health in Primary Care A Popular Page on AAPD Website
Primary care providers can be a major source of both referrals and patient educa- tion. The AAPD web page dedicated to Oral Health in Primary Care reports on our three- year interprofessional study on oral health in primary care. The page includes additional resources that can aid medical professionals in incorporating oral health into patient care. Visit center/oral-health-in-primary-care/.
Online Safety Toolkit at Your Fingertips
For more tips on safety in dentistry, see  the AAPD’s newest feature, the Safety Tool- kit. Available now, the online resource can be accessed on your phone, tablet or computer and is a compilation of practice tools, includ- ing policies, training materials, office-friendly tools, and best practice guides and recom- mendations. The site offers links to compre- hensive safety information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Organi- zation for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention, and other expert organizations. Bookmark the Safety Toolkit and check back often as new topics and resources are released! View the Safety Toolkit on the AAPD website under Resources.

Everything You Need to Know About Infection Control
Listen to this 25-minute amazing and informative Pedo Teeth Talk podcast from infection control guru Dr. John Molinari. In this info-packed podcast, Molinari discusses several exceptionally important topics for every practitioner including hand washing protocol and technique, surface disinfection technique, sterilization monitoring, im- munization recommendations by dentists, and other pertinent topics. Get up-to-date on safety protocol in your office with John Molinari himself.
For more information, please contact Director, Research and Policy Center Robin Wright at

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