Age-One Care

A Primary Mission of the Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations Committee (Access)

One of the MDS Access, Prevention, and Interprofessional Relations Committee's primary projects has been an outreach to dentists and pediatricians to educate these providers on the benefits of age-one dental visits. The Committee has drafted a mission statement that the MDS Board of Trustees approved:   

"The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that children first see a dentist at age one, or within six months of the first baby tooth coming in—whichever comes first. The Access, Prevention, and Interprofessional Relations Committee wholeheartedly supports this recommendation and is committed to getting dentists and parents alike to be aware of the benefit of this type of visit.

First dental visits are typically about educating the parents rather than intensively treating the child. Comfort is established at this appointment for both child and parents. This first visit establishes the groundwork for a dental home and for continuing preventive care. Studies show that the younger a child is when he or she sees a dentist, the less likely that child will return to the dentist with cavities or the need for emergency care." 



Connect the Dots

In partnership with Head Start, the MDS launched Connect the Dots Between Medical and Dental Care. The goal of this program is to educate medical providers on the importance of referring children to a dentist by age one and to train dentists toConnect The Dots Child treat children at age one. Health providers can play a key part, to keep children healthy from the start.

The Access Committee has held a series of Connect the Dots presentations around the state. For more information, contact Ellen Factor, MDS director of dental practice, at


Impact of Age One Initiative

In order to measure the impact of the Acess Committee's Connect the Dots age one initiative, a 2013 pediatric practice pattern survey was mailed electronically and via U.S. postal service to a combined 2,875 members. We received responses from 763 (26 percent). The responses indicate that 40 percent of our members now treat age one patients (compared to 19 percent in 2011). While there is still room for improvement, this reflects a significant change in practice pattern of MDS members. 

Massachusetts Childhood Oral Health Consortium

The MDS is collaborating with many organizations as part of the Massachusetts Childhood Oral Health Consortium to promote the Connect the Dots Program

Members of the Consortium

  • Project Director - Nancy Topping-Tailby
  • MA Head Start Service coordinator - Maureen Vosburgh
  • MA Department of Public Health, Office of Oral Health – Marlene Bennett
  • MA Department of Public Health WIC – Alicia High
  • Tufts University Public Health and Community Services Program – Kathy Dolan, Nancy Johnson and Catherine Pelullo
  • Commonwealth Mobile Oral Health Services Program – Dr. Mark Doherty and Lauren Marvel
  • Boston Children’s Hospital Dental Clinic – Dr. Manwai Ng (Director)
  • Massachusetts Dental Society – Ellen Factor, Director of Dental Practice, and Joy Kasparian-Federico – APIRC Chair
  • DentaQuest Foundation – Mike Monopoly
  • Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine- Dr. Michelle Henshaw and Dr. Corinna Culler
  • Massachusetts Chapter American Academy Pediatric Dentistry – Dr. Anubha Sacheti
  • MassHealth Dental Program – Tracy Chase and Megan Mackin
  • MA League of Community Health Centers – Mary Leary and Shannon Wells
  • Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians – Dr. Hugh Silk
  • MA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics – Dr. Michelle Dalal
  • MA Head Start Association Executive Director – Pam Kuechler
  • Evaluator – Dr. Catherine Hayes  

Dental Home

Every child should have a dental home. There must be a way to meet the oral health needs of very young children, especially those with moderate- to high-risk for caries. Creating relationships with local pediatricians is key, so that these pediatricians know to refer parents of one-year-old children to local dentists. Massachusetts Head Start is also working to create permanent dental homes for Head Start children   

Age-One Dental Care Video

The Massachusetts Dental Society, American Dental Association, and American Academy of Pediatric Dentists all recommend that children first see a dentist at age one or within six months of the first baby tooth coming in—whichever comes first. If you've never treated an infant, you may be unsure of how an age-one dental exam should be administered. To help you treat these youngest of patients, the MDS has produced a video offering a step-by-step demonstration of an age-one exam. In the video, MDS member Dr. Anubha Sacheti, a pediatric dentist, offers practical tips and shows you how to perform an age-one exam.

Age One Campaign

The importance have one by oneof age-one dental exams was highlighted in an MDS-produced TV campaign in 2013. The MDS Standing Committee on Communications launched a public awareness campaign in January 2013 on the importance of age-one dental exams. The MDS produced a 30-second TV commercial, which was broadcast over several weeks on WHDH-TV (Channel 7) and WLVI-TV (Channel 56) in Boston and on WWLP-TV (Channel 22) in Springfield.

This companion flyer is now available to support the new public awareness campaign. Have One. First Dental Checkup By One. First Birthday. Download a copy of this flyer to share with patients in your office.


Watch the Commercial


  Fall Journal Focuses on Age-One PatientsF12 Journal Cover

 The Fall 2012 Journal of the Massachusetts Dental Society took an in-depth look at the importance of treating the age-one patient, and the digital edition features an exclusive video introduction from Editor Dr. David Becker. Open the digital Journal to watch the video or watch the video on YouTube.

Read Fall Journal  

 Promote That You Treat Age-One Patients

MDS members can now promote that they treat age-one patients. Update your MDS profile to indicate that you treat age-one children.

Go to My Profile

Age-One Articles

An article ran in the New York Times on March 6, 2012, regarding age-one dental care and a series of op-ed articles followed. Here are links to the related articles


Additional Resources

Click on a link below to learn more: 


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