Parker Bass, 5, knows how important it is to take good care of his teeth. He’s dedicated to the core.

“I ate an apple today,” the kindergartner volunteers in the waiting room of Premier Dental.

For about two years now, Parker and his big sister Madeline, 7, have been going to Premier Dental for regular checkups. Erin Bass, their mother, appreciates how the Omaha dental clinic accommodates her family’s busy schedule for the twice-yearly visits.

“They really make it easy,” she says. “We’ll always make our appointments six months out. They’re great about scheduling around school.”

To meet popular demand, Premier Dental offers early morning, lunchtime, evening and Saturday appointments, which means less time away from school and work. There’s also availability to schedule the whole family — all ages — for the same appointment time, which means fewer trips to the dental office.

“Our families love that,” says Shelby Hardin, one of seven registered dental hygienists. “It just makes sense.”

The office’s investment in convenience and accessibility stems from the importance of preventive dental care.

“When you come in for regular dental care, we’re able to catch problems early,” Hardin says. “As dental problems become worse, patients need more extensive treatment. That often means more time away from work or school.”

Bass sees preventive care as another way that she and her husband can ensure that their kids thrive.

“We want to make sure their teeth and mouths are healthy so they can focus on school,” she says.

A 2012 study by Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California underscored the link between poor oral health, dental disease and tooth pain, and lower grades, more missed school and more missed work. The study found, on average, that elementary children, like Madeline and Parker, missed six days per year – 2.1 days due to dental problems. Parents missed an average of 2.5 days of work per year to care for children with dental problems.

It’s a strong case for preventive care — a case that Premier Dental is making year-round and with added emphasis in February, Children’s Dental Health Month. Beyond convenient scheduling, the office offers additional avenues for parents to save either time and money fortifying their children’s dental health.

• Say yes to sealants. “For the most part, we try to seal all teeth with pits and grooves. It’s much less expensive to invest in dental sealants than in cavity treatment,” Hardin says. “It’s also a lot faster to get sealants at your regular checkup appointment than to rearrange your schedule for a return visit to treat the tooth decay.”

• Fluoride for all. “Everybody — even if you’re 99 — can benefit from fluoride treatments,” Hardin says.

• No-hassle access to affordable, quality dental care. Premier Dental’s Premier Advantage Plan — a dental discount plan and alternative to dental insurance — offers individual, dual and family options. Each plan member receives two comprehensive exams a year, which include a doctor’s exam, X-rays, a general cleaning, and a fluoride treatment. The program also offers discounts on sealants, additional cleanings, laser teeth whitening, crowns, veneers, implants, Invisalign orthodontics and more.

During Children’s Dental Health Month, Premier Dental also is reminding parents to not let their oral health slip. Periodontal disease has been linked to premature births, as well as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Erin Bass doesn’t need convincing.

“To me, going to the dentist is just like having an annual physical (exam),” she says. “I feel it’s super important.”

Better yet, she doesn’t have to coerce Madeline and Parker into going to Premier Dental twice a year.

“They enjoy coming because of the fun toys in the waiting room,” Bass says. “The staff is always very friendly and good about talking through what they’re going to do before they do anything. Plus, the kids enjoy getting to watch cartoons while they’re in the dental chair.”

Premier Dental provides state-of-the-art cosmetic, general, neuromuscular, and family dentistry to patients in Omaha, Lincoln and surrounding communities. To book an appointment and learn more about the PremierAdvantage Plan, visit www.premiersmile.com or call 402-718-8741.

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