It takes a special kind of dentist to be able to handle the dental care needs of children, teens, adults and seniors, but that is just what family dentistsdo every day. With all of the hustle and bustle of a busy family's schedule, having one dentist for the whole family can make life a little easier.
Family Dentistry Services
Many people use the terms …general dentistryť and …family dentistryť interchangeably. While general and family dentists typically perform the same types of dental procedures, family dentists place more emphasis on helping children, teens, adults and elderly patients feel comfortable and welcome.
Family dentists work to ensure that patients of all ages have healthy teeth and gums. A wide range of services can help to meet this goal, including:
- Check-ups, which encompass teeth cleaning, plaque and tartar removal, examinations to detect dental problems and oral cancer screenings
- Treatment for tooth cavities, incorporating either metal or porcelain fillings
- Treatment and prevention for gum disease, ranging from the early stages (gingivitis) to the more severe form (periodontal disease)
- Root canals to help save infected teeth
- Tooth extractions if the tooth is too infected or decayed to save or other oral surgery care
- Options to replace missing teeth or strengthen decayed or damaged teeth, including dental bridges, crowns and implants
- Dental sealants to help protect teeth from cavity development
Not all family dentists are specially trained to provide the same services. When choosing a family dentist, it is advisable to check the dentist's credentials, training and expertise to ensure that all, or most, of your family's dental needs can be met by one individual.
Oral Hygiene and Family Dentists
It is especially important for parents to be a positive role model for children when it comes to dental hygiene. Family dentists educate parents on the proper ways to brush, floss and maintain a healthy lifestyle so the parents can pass this information on to their children.
Family dentist offices are usually geared toward making dental health information fun for children and teens, and often these offices have entertaining toys, movies or music to make the entire dental visit enjoyable for kids.
Recommended Timeframe for Dental Visits
It is recommended that people visit the dentist every six months for a dental check-up. This timeframe between visits is usually covered by dental insurance carriers to encourage preventative dental care. The American Dental Association also recommends that parents bring a child in for his or her first dental visit after the first tooth has erupted or by the child's first birthday. This first visit will help the dentist evaluate the child's teeth and become familiar with the child early on so the dentist can follow his or her dental progression.
Some family dentists wait until the child has turned 3 years of age before beginning to clean and X-ray the teeth.
Sedation and Family Dentistry
Regardless of how fun the dentist's office is, many people, adults and children alike, are simply too afraid to go through with dental visits. In these cases, sedation dentistry is an option that is provided by many family dentists. Sedation in a dentist office setting can take various forms, including:
- Oral taken before the appointment, like Valium
- Inhalation given during the appointment, like nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
- Intravenous administered during the appointment by an anesthesiologist