There is nothing in terms of dental procedures that separates a family dentist from a general dentist. The difference lies in the scope of clientele that a family dentist works with. Many conventional dentists don’t work with children because the scope of their work does not include baby teeth. They may also restrict their dental services when it comes to elderly people because their clinic does not manufacture dentures.
Many people find exactly what they need form a general dentist, however, if you have children or parents who need dentistry, you can find a lot of benefits from finding a qualified family dentist.
Family Dentists Perform Services For All Age Groups
Unlike general dentists, family dentists have a comprehensive repertoire of dental services that they provide. They can provide your young ones with the dental care and advice they need just as soon as taking care of your 80 year old grandma with fixed dentures that look and function like natural teeth.
Of course, these are relatively fringe services that dentists perform. A family dentist is also equipped with the education, training, and experience to handle all of the common, major dental procedures that adults require. Your family dentist will likely be able to perform:
- Dental Implants – Family dentists can set you up with dental implants. Dental implants include the implants themselves – “screws” often comprised of metal or zirconium – that are fastened into the gum tissue and jawbone, and dental crowns that are later attached to them. Dental implants often take time to “grow into” your jaw bone and gum tissue. This can take weeks or even months. The reason for this is to give the implants the stability they need to function properly. After, dental crowns are attached to the implants, and your family dentist will send you away with a brand new smile.
- Dental Crowns – Family dentists should provide dental crowns when teeth become excessively decayed or damaged. Many family dentists provide CEREC crowns, meaning your crown will be created and installed the very day you go in for an appointment. In the past, dental crowns often required a relatively long amount of time to fully complete. Dentists would work on the tooth, establish a crown model, and install it many weeks later. In the meantime, you would be sent home with a temporary crown. The problem was that these temporary crowns would fall off – sometimes the very night of their installation! – while one was eating or chewing gum. This would cause a lot of discomfort and a less-than-desirable appearance.
- Dental Fillings – Your family dentist should be able to install dental fillings if you have a cavity, mild tooth decay, or mild tooth damage. In the past, dentists would rely on amalgam fillings, but many modern family dentists are avoiding amalgam fillings because they contain high amounts of mercury – a known toxic heavy metal that can have detrimental effects on the human body over time. Instead, many family dentists rely on resin-based dental fillings because they offer a number of benefits. Mercury fillings have to be forced or wedged into place, causing microfractures in the tooth. They also expand and contract due to temperature changes which can create further microfractures. They also don’t look or feel like natural teeth, leading to a “metal mouth” look that many don’t find desirable. Resin fillings are adhesive, safe for the human body, and look and feel like your natural teeth.
- Periodontal Treatment – A good family dentist can provide periodontal care. “Periodontal” refers to the surrounding tooth tissue, primarily the gums. If one hasn’t maintained proper dental hygiene, it’s not just the teeth that suffer – the gums can also become damaged due to an excessive amount of plaque build up. Family dentists can perform root planing and scaling to remove plaque and bacteria from the gums, helping to reverse gingivitis and treat periodontal disease.
- Root Canals – Contrary to popular belief, root canals don’t have to be the nightmare they once were. The procedure is definitely something that will intimidate many people, however, with modern sedation and clean, effective dental practices, the process can be very easy and virtually painless. When dental decay has progressed to the point that the infection has affected the tooth nerve, the nerve has to be extracted and a dental crown placed over the tooth. Before the dental crown in placed, the tooth and gums are filled with healing medicine. Many people put off seeing the dentist when dental decay has progressed to this point because the pain is no less than excruciating, and the thought of having the tooth worked on seems like too much to bear. However, with modern dentistry from a family dentist, the process can be clean, easy, and will ultimately stop the pain.
The Social Benefits of a Family Dentist
It’s no secret that many people have a fear of seeing the dentist. This is understandable. Your teeth are very sensitive parts of your body. The mere thought of having someone poke and prod at them is enough to send shivers down many people’s spines. Even a mere check up and teeth cleaning can put people off. Now, think about what this would be like for a young child who has no idea what to expect. Children don’t have the conception that adults do about dental hygiene or why it’s important.
A family dentist has experience working with people of all ages, and that includes children. The scope of their work includes pediatric dentistry, with all of the mental and emotional needs of children that comes with it. A family dentist can work with your child in a way that puts them at ease; they can teach your child that there is nothing to worry about while seeing the dentist. Often family dentists will provide TV shows for your children while their work is being done. After the procedure, they may provide tokens that your child can use to purchase toys as a reward.
Furthermore, family dentists can have your children present while you yourself are having dental work performed. This can show them first hand that dental care is safe and nothing to be afraid of. After all, children learn from their parents, and having your child present while you have your own dental work taken care of is a fantastic opportunity to safeguard them from fearful expectations about the dentist.
The same principle also applies to the elderly. Children can be present while their grandparents receive the dental care they need.
Family dentists are an invaluable asset to the field of modern dentistry. If you want to find a dental specialist that can take care of a four-year-old just as soon as an eighty-year-old, contact your local family dentist today.