Many millions of Americans are greatly invested in the health of their teeth, since a mouth of healthy and attractive teeth make for a pleasant smile and these healthy teeth are less likely to suffer from painful and distressing tooth problems. Many Americans are going to their dentist every year, and dentistry in fact ranks in the top 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the United States every year. Americans of all ages can and should visit the dentist, even toddlers. A pediatric dentist is one option for a young patient, but in other cases, a dental care center may offer family dentists instead. That, or a family dental clinic may be of interest to a family living together. Like family doctors, these family dentists can take on entire families of patients at a time, and these flexible dentists can handle patients of any age. What should be done when looking for these dentists, and what might typical family dentistry entail during a visit?
Looking for a Dentist
To begin with, if a family does not already have a reference for finding family dentists in their area, someone can look online to find some. This may be done, for example, when a household moves to a new city or area and they don’t already know the dentists there. At any rate, a person can go online and look up a relevant search query such as “family dentists near me” and add their city or town name or even their ZIP code to narrow down the search a little more. Doing this will present a whole list of family dentistry practices in the area, and that may include their names, addresses, and more. The seeker may cross off dentistry practices that are too far away to visit or those that aren’t taking on new patients. But the rest can be visited in person.
Someone visiting a family dentistry office may bring along anyone who is interested, and the adults can consult the dentists and their assistants who work there to see their credentials. The dentists’ educational background, work experience, customer reviews, and more may be considered, not to mention whether the family members’ health insurance is accepted there. Meanwhile, children in the family won’t ask anyone for their credentials but they may get a feel for the dentist’s office and determine if they feel comfortable there and if they get along with the staff members. If the children like it there, that office may be a fine candidate, and a few clinics may visited until everyone decides on which dentist to start seeing.
Basic Tooth Care
Patients of all ages in a family may visit their family dentist, and a variety of dental procedures might be done. If there are no serious problems, the patient may simply undergo a routine cleaning and checkup, and get their X-rays done. Kids may be advised on how to take good care of their teeth, such as the need to vigorously brush their teeth after every meal and using mouth guards when playing sports to prevent damage to the teeth. Kids may also have sealant put on their teeth, or braces if necessary.
Adults might get their wisdom teeth extracted. These are extraneous teeth that go beyond the normal 28 teeth in the mouth, and wisdom teeth, if allowed to fully erupt, may disrupt existing teeth and deform them. A family dentist may take X-rays to spot these teeth and numb them, then extract them safely. A patient might also get a root canal, a painless procedure that removes infected fleshy pulp from inside a tooth.
Some patients may need dental implants, and implants are in fact quite common. Someone who’s missing a tooth may have a realistic replica made, and that replica takes the missing tooth’s place and is held in place with covers that slip over the real teeth flanking the gap. Elderly patients, meanwhile, might get a set of dentures, which are replica teeth and gums that might replace many or even all of the mouth’s teeth at once. A patient may remove their dentures and put them back into the mouth as desired. Finally, some patients get crowns that help secure a cracked or damaged tooth and prevent its total destruction.