There comes the point during your child’s time with a pediatric clinic that your child must make a transition to an adult dental care practice. There are numerous steps to this process, and it can be difficult for a parent to navigate if they’re going through it for the first time. It’s equally important that your child be prepared for a future of managing their dental health care. This requires the establishment of new routines, introductions to new doctors, and perhaps the addition of new types of dental treatment. Parents, caregivers, and the new adult patient can find this process taxing in numerous ways. This is only compounded by other potential major life changes such as starting college, a career and moving out on their own.
Preparing Your Family For The Transition To Adult Dental Care
It’s important to realize the pivotal nature of transitioning your child from pediatric dental care to adult care. There are significant challenges that they may have to face, some of which can impact their ability to receive the necessary care. Almost 50% of patients closing in on this stage in their dental care were not properly communicated about the upcoming change. Some were not even aware that it was going to be necessary, in spite of their approaching the age of majority. This can be particularly startling when the now-adult patient no longer has dental coverage available from their parents. They may even discover that their previous specialists focused on pediatric care.
If a member of your family is nearing the age of majority and you want to prepare yourself and them for the road ahead, speak to your dentist and physicians. Consider the following questions when speaking with them:
- What Is Your Clinics Transition Policy? – All clinics have their own policies regarding transitioning to adult care. Some allow children to stay on until their parent’s insurance no longer covers them. Others will require an immediate transition as they reach 18 years of age. Inquiring about their policy will hopefully also get the necessary information for any legal changes that the process may involve.
- Is Monitoring Of The Patient Done? Many clinics monitor their patient’s files so they can alert them when the date is approaching. They may also have procedures in place to help the patient prepare for their transition away from the clinic. Without these procedures, patients can fall between the cracks when this day arrives.
- Is A Readiness Assessment Performed? It’s common practice for pediatric dental offices to have a program that helps patients prepare to transition away from pediatric care. This assessment will start at 14 in many cases, helping the child fully prepare to take command of their dental health needs in the future.
There is some important information you want access to when it’s time to transition to adult dental care. This information includes any complex orthodontic or dental health concerns they have that may require additional care. A history of existing cavities and those that have been filled is essential. Wisdom teeth are not typically removed as part of pediatric care. This means that it is critical to know their current state and what treatment they’ll need if any.
Communicate With Your Pediatric Dentist To Learn More
You must begin speaking to your dentist about starting this process as soon as possible. Even if it’s years away, you’ll be prepared to help your child navigate this right of passage when the day arrives. Speak to your dentist today about the steps involved in the transition process.