Family dentistry is an area of dental care that provides services to people of all ages. Although general dentists receive extensive education before they begin their practice, family dentists take this one step further by specializing in providing quality care to people of all ages. The choice to visit a family dentist allows you to benefit from their experience and expanded services that focus on the prevention and treatment of the most common dental problems that could affect you at any age.
Find Care at Every Stage in Life
During their education and training, family dentists gain experience in providing care to both children and adults. Today, it is recommended that children have their first dental visit as soon as their first tooth coming in or by their first birthday, depending upon which one comes first. Older children and adults should see their dentist annually or semi-annually for a teeth cleaning and exam that helps identify early problems before they become serious. When you choose a dentist that provides care for all, making it to all of these appointments is easier for the entire family.
Develop a Relationship With Your Dentist
Dental fears and anxiety often arise when a person has not established a relationship that is based on trust with their dentist. Family dentistry allows you to continue to see the same dentist throughout your life, which is ideal for helping you to feel more comfortable during your exams and treatments. When your dentist sees each member of your family on a regular basis, they are better able to quickly identify needs and take action. For instance, your teenager feels more comfortable discussing their oral hygiene practices when they have developed a relationship with a dentist that they have seen since they were a small child.
Receive Preventative Oral Health Care
Ideally, oral health care problems should be identified as early as possible so that you can avoid major problems that contribute to issues such as tooth loss. Family dentists offer preventative oral health care services such as comprehensive exams that can identify problem areas in your mouth. For example, you should have your teeth cleaned every six months to help remove the plaque and tartar that contribute to decay and gum disease. A family dentist may also pick up on other issues such as nighttime teeth grinding.
Correct Imperfections in Your Smile
Since family dentists aim to provide care for all, they also offer services to correct imperfections in your smile that occur throughout each life stage. For older children and teenagers, this may mean that your child needs Invisalign to help straighten their teeth or correct a misaligned bite. The adults in your family may benefit from tooth whitening procedures, dental bonding or veneers that can remove or cover up stains and blemishes such as chipped teeth.
Restore Lost or Damaged Teeth
Tooth loss is another dental health issue that family dentists treat. Although many people think of a missing tooth as a cosmetic issue, you should be aware that losing a tooth can cause other teeth to shift out of place. You may also have problems with eating and speaking when you lose one of your teeth, and oral hygiene care becomes more difficult if you have a lost or broken tooth. Your family dentist will assess your mouth structure, gum health and the condition of your other teeth to develop a personalized plan for tooth replacement. Bridges, dentures, and dental implants are a few options that your family dentist can offer for restoring your teeth after one or more are lost.
Detect and Treat Early Changes in Your Oral Health
Many oral health issues affect the soft tissues of your mouth. Gum disease is another common problem that can occur even in young children. During your visits, your dentist checks the health of your gums for signs of developing gum disease such as redness, bleeding and deepening pockets around your teeth that trap bacteria. Treatments for gum disease may involve special teeth cleaning procedures and medications in the earliest stages, or minor oral surgery can be performed to reduce gum pockets and reverse or stabilize the disease so that you avoid bone and tooth loss in the future.
Learn How to Improve Your Oral Hygiene
Family dentists prefer to help your family avoid the most serious dental problems by helping both kids and adults to learn how to brush and floss properly. When you go for an exam, you can ask your dentist to show you or your kids how to make sure to get all of the surfaces of your teeth without causing damage during your normal hygiene routine. For instance, many people brush their teeth too hard or use the wrong toothbrush. Flossing can also pose a challenge if you wear braces or have teeth that fit tightly together. Dentists are experienced in helping you find ways to overcome these challenges so that your teeth stay in the best health possible.
Discover Greater Comfort During Your Dental Visits
Although dental visits can sometimes be uncomfortable, you should never feel severe pain or anxiety during any type of treatment. Family dentists understand that people of all ages may feel nervous about going for their exams and treatments. For this reason, they strive to provide a comfortable environment that helps you enjoy the visits. Make sure to tell your dentist if you struggle with anxiety so that they can provide suggestions such as listening to music to drown out the sounds of their tools. If you do require a treatment such as a filling or a root canal, then you can also discuss potential pain management strategies that ensure your comfort. For example, you may be a candidate for sedation dentistry if you struggle with a sensitive gag reflex or require a complicated procedure to be done in a single visit.
Your choice of a dentist makes a significant impact on your oral health, and families can streamline their dental care by choosing to visit the same provider. Whether you have kids that are just beginning to learn about proper oral health care or need someone to help your senior parent replace their missing teeth, family dentists have the knowledge and experience to provide care for all of your needs.