What are the benefits of family dentistry?
The dentist’s office is no longer a place to fear. The patient care paradigm has changed across all medical fields, from treating acute illness to prevention and managing health conditions in the long term. Aesthetics has become increasingly important as well, whether it’s about ensuring a glowing skin or a beautiful smile.
The concept of family dentistry is one of those innovations that are part of the new healthcare philosophy. The relatively new idea of family dentistry encompasses taking care of the entire family by seeing its members during regular dentist’s appointments, even if there is no symptoms bothering them. Keep on reading to find out exactly what is family dentistry!
What is family dentistry?
Family dentists provide dental care for an individual from infancy through adulthood. Family dentists have to be experienced and have excellent bedside (or could we say, on a funny note, chairside) manners because they have to treat patients of all ages. They need to be able to deal with little patients that are restless, handle the phobia of some adult patients, and also be able to work with elderly patients, who may have various conditions that makes their oral treatment challenging.
The main focus of a family dentist, however, is treating kids and teenagers. In the past parents tended to neglect their kids’ baby teeth because they ‘were going to fall out’ anyway, these days the situation is different. Parents are well aware of the solid reasons to ensure good oral health for their children:
- Building lifetime good oral hygiene habits;
- Avoiding pain and discomfort caused by decaying teeth;
- Enabling children to smile with confidence and building their self-esteem;
- Ensuring a healthy environment for permanent teeth to erupt – the first permanent tooth to erupt is the 6 year molar, and your child will have to keep it for the rest of his/her life!
- Getting them used to the dentist from infancy so they never become afraid of oral care appointments.
What do family dentists do?
Family dentists can apply a wide range of treatments, covering the most common dental problems:
- Regular exams and cleaning
6-month exams are recommended now to patients of all ages because a higher frequency enables dentists to catch oral issues in their early stages. For children, regular exams are important because they ensure that their teeth are developing properly and the little ones get used to seeing the dentist.
- Applying protection treatments
Tooth decay, which is quite common in children, can easily be prevented with fluoride treatments and dental sealants. Both treatments can be provided by a family dentist.
- Treating cavities
Regular examinations include checking for cavities. Family dentists will identify and treat tooth decay in patients of all ages by cleaning the affected area and applying fillings.
Some family dentists offer in-house orthodontic treatment, while some just offer orthodontic exams and refer patients to specialists.
- Gum disease treatment
Periodontal maintenance is commonly offered by family dentists; treating gum diseases is critical for maintaining your teeth in position and ensuring good general health.
- Referring patients to other specialists
Some family dentists cannot cover all branches of dentistry, but can refer their patients to specialists covering areas such as endodontics, prosthodontics, periodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and oral pathology. Having someone who can recommend a good specialist for your oral problem is actually a great thing because it helps you save time and money by getting the right treatment as soon as possible.
Benefits of family dentistry
If you’ve come this far with reading our post, you have probably guessed that family dentistry offers a wide range of benefits to patients, with the most obvious being:
- Having a history of your dental health
Continuity and reliable data recording can help a lot when diagnosing future oral health problems. Having a family dentist enables you to have an accurate record of your dental health. It’s very much like going to your general practitioner and having your medical records in one place so specialists have access to them when needed. Dentists can formulate better treatment plans for any dental condition if they know how your oral health has progressed in time.
- Developing a trusting relationship
The ability to overcome a health issue is significantly influenced by the relationship you have with your doctor or dentist, in this case. Going to treat your dental problems in a relaxed and confident manner definitely contributes to the success of the treatment.
Knowing you can rely on a gentle and competent specialist also contributes to your general well-being and communication is so much easier and effective with someone you trust.
How do you know you are going to the right family dentist in terms of doctor-patient relationship? You should feel comfortable to ask any question, no matter how stupid it sounds, and he or she should be available to provide the right answer in a professional manner.
- Knowledge of your general mouth condition
Being aware of any health conditions is a must as it enables you to detect any health concerns at the early stages. When you have no idea what your situation is and you change dentist after dentist, you risk getting unsatisfactory treatment from another practitioner.
- Being aware of various health issues and their implications
A dedicated family dentist will keep a record of all your health issues that could impact your oral health and treatment plans. For instance:
- Individuals with prosthetic joint replacement and heart stents should take antibiotics before dental cleanings and other invasive procedures;
- People taking high blood pressure medication should pay extra attention to their oral health because the medicines they take can cause a dry mouth (saliva plays a vital role in protecting teeth from decay);
- Those suffering from high blood pressure can be adversely affected by certain local anaesthetics.
A family dentist who knows your health conditions well will be able to apply the right protocols to ensure the success of the treatment while also avoiding unpleasant or dangerous incidents.
- Eliminating anxiety
Dental phobia and anxiety are serious issues as they prevent patients of all ages from getting access to the right treatment early on. People who are afraid to go to the dentist often delay or avoid treatment, which aggravates their conditions and makes the treatment even more difficult and potentially uncomfortable.
If one of the members in your family is suffering from dental phobia, you can have your check-ups together as a family. Going to a gentle and reliable family dentist prevents children from developing dental anxiety at an early age; when children see you comfortable with the experience of going to the dentist, they will gain confidence, too.
- Ensuring good oral health on the long term
Access to regular and consistent services contributes to your family’s oral health. Going twice a year for check-ups and cleaning helps to catch issues early so you can treat them before they cause considerable damage to your pearly whites.
What to look for in a family dentist
Whether you are needing a dentist for yourself or for your children, you should look for the following qualities in a family dentistry specialist:
Your family dentist should be willing to answer your questions no matter how silly you think they are. Such questions can actually provide valuable information that has an impact on establishing the right dental treatment plan.
- Gentle manner
A gentle manner is essential when treating children or patients with dental phobia. A good dentist will make appointments as pain-free as possible while also conducting treatment in a caring manner.
Dental appointments can become difficult, especially when the patient still has baby teeth. A good dentist is trained to handle these situations with grace and professionalism.
- Professional skills and experience
You absolutely want to go to a specialist that knows their job, by specialising in certain areas or participating in ongoing education. Choose a dentist that freely offers information on their qualifications, areas of expertise, completed courses, and industry bodies they associate with.
- The ability to establish good rapport with patients
Being able to build a strong and trusting relationship with all kinds of patients is paramount.
You never know when you need urgent dental care, so pick a family dentistry office in your area. It is preferable to find an office with an emergency dentist on call, and preferably with Saturday openings for existing patients and bookings that can be made directly online.
- Safe environment
Opt for an office employing plenty of auxiliary staff that keeps the dental practice comfortable and safe by applying infection control protocols. Don’t hesitate to ask about sterilisation practices as they are extremely important for your safety and health!
Have you been searching for “family dentistry near me”? Your search for a professional, reputable family dentistry can end here with a call to ArtSmiles Southport. Check our dental services here and don’t hesitate to contact us – sooner is always better when it comes to taking care of your oral health!