Your family members may all have different health care needs -- but that doesn't mean they all need to visit different dentists! If you're looking for a dental office that offers preventive, restorative and cosmetic dental services, you may want to consider a family dentist. Family dentistry is dentistry for patients of all ages, and a family dentist is a general dentist who offers complete, comprehensive dental care to a wide variety of patients.
The family dentistry philosophy is also based on convenience. Today's families are incredibly busy. Between working parents and school activities, there's little time to shuffle family members to various dental offices. Many family dentists offer Saturday appointments or later hours to accommodate your family members' work and school schedules. You may also have the option of scheduling all of your family's dental appointments in one day!
Family Dental Services
Everyone needs professional dental health care on an ongoing basis, which includes regular dental visits and any necessary dental treatment. While anyone is susceptible to dental problems at any age, family dentistry often falls into the following categories:
Children -- Teaching children about the importance of preventive dentistry can help them maintain a healthy smile for life. Children should have their first dental visit by the time they get their first tooth or reach their first birthday, then every six months thereafter. Dental checkups are also a good time for parents to "check in" -- a family dentist can review your children's brushing habits and offer oral health care tips to help prevent childhood dental diseases, such as baby bottle tooth decay.
Dental sealants are often used on younger children to protect them from tooth decay. X-rays are also routinely used during checkups to detect cavities. If your child has a dental cavity, don't be discouraged! Caught early, a dental cavity can be treated with a tooth filling to help keep your child's teeth healthy for years to come.
Teenagers -- Changing bodies mean changing mouths! Entering the teen years can mean the need for wisdom teeth extractions -- and dental braces are practically a rite of passage for most teenagers. There are several types of dental braces available to fit your individual style, from colored brackets to porcelain dental braces to Invisalign®. A tooth extraction or dental braces may not require a referral to a dental specialist, as many family dentistry practices now offer these procedures in-house.
While most teens care about their appearance, their teeth might not be the first thing on their minds. Regular dental care is especially important during this time to remove decay-causing dental plaque and tartar and correct any existing dental problems. Untreated tooth decay can result in some very grown-up dental problems, including a root canal or dental abscess.
Adults -- A whole new set of dental problems could be waiting for you as you enter adulthood. While adults may not be as prone to cavities as their younger counterparts, their chances of developing gum disease greatly increase with age. From scaling and root planing to laser gum surgery, family dentistry practices offer many gum disease treatment options to treat gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Years of wear and tear can also cause damage to adult mouths. A large filling may need to be replaced with a dental inlay, dental onlay or dental crown to help protect the tooth from breakage. While a dental bridge was once the only way to permanently replace missing teeth, dental implants have become a common procedure in family dentistry offices. And no adult dental checkup is complete these days without an oral cancer screening!
Senior Citizens -- When it comes to aging mouths, dentures are no longer the norm. Thanks to modern technology, many seniors are keeping their teeth longer. While keeping your natural teeth for a lifetime is an excellent goal to achieve, tooth preservation has presented new challenges in family dentistry. Seniors are at high risk for dental cavities, receding gums, dry mouth and tooth root decay.
Many family dentists are changing their practices to accommodate the growing need for senior dental care. From supplying their dental offices with wheelchair ramps to treating a number of senior dental problems, family dentists have vastly improved oral health care for senior citizens throughout the nation. If you're entering your golden years, ask your family dentist for fluoride treatments to help prevent tooth decay and protect you from tooth sensitivity. If you have dexterity problems, your family dentist can offer advice to make your oral hygiene routine easier.
Family Dentistry at Any Age
A great family dentist is ready to handle just about any dental need, no matter what category you fall into! You may also find the following optional services at your family dentistry center:
Dental Emergencies -- A dental emergency can happen to anyone at any time. While many family dentistry centers are open to new patients with emergencies, establishing yourself as a patient with a family emergency dentist could help you get your toothache remedies faster.
Sedation Dentistry -- A variety of conscious sedation methods are now available to relieve dental fear, including nitrous oxide and oral sedation. If you or one of your family members suffer from dental anxiety, talk to your family dentist about your sedation dentistry options.
Family Cosmetic Dentistry -- Stained, broken or crooked teeth can affect your self-esteem, no matter what your age. Whether you're entering high school or nearing retirement, a family cosmetic dentist can offer several options to meet your individual needs, from laser teeth whitening to veneers. With family cosmetic dentistry, the possibilities are endless!
Laser Dentistry -- Considered more comfortable and less invasive, laser dentistry is also an excellent option for anxious patients. Dental lasers are now being used for several different dental procedures, including laser gum surgery and laser root canal preparation.
If it's time to schedule checkups for your entire family, consider family dentistry. A trusted family dentist can help you decide what types of treatment plans are best for your family members.