Essential Knowledge About Family Dentistry

Family dentistry deals with maintaining oral health of the entire family. Family dentists diagnose, treat and prevent various dental conditions in all members of the family. Family dentistry overlaps with a number of other fields in a number of ways. For example, family dentistry and general dentistry have a lot in common, but they differs from other fields in a number of ways too. Most notably, they deal with providing dental services to anyone in the family whereas other fields deal with a specialized procedure or age group. Family dentist plays an important role in maintaining the overall health of our society.

What are the responsibilities of the family dentist?

Family dentist performs a number of procedures to diagnose, treat and prevent the various diseases and conditions that affect the teeth of the family members. He is also responsible for providing proper information and guidance to maintain oral health.

Here are some of the most common procedures performed by family dentists:

• Cleanings: To prevent conditions such as dental caries and bacterial infections, it is essential to clean your teeth periodically. Brushing twice a day helps, but some food particles may still get trapped in between the teeth and sometimes can only be removed by the dentist. The family dentist uses various instruments such as dental picks, elevators and drill instruments to clean the teeth. Ideally, cleaning procedures should be performed once in every four months. This way, any infections or dental caries can be detected early on and appropriate measures taken to stop it from progressing and causing any significant damage.

• Dental fillings: Dental fillings are performed to rectify holes in the teeth, which are usually due to bacterial infections or dental caries. Bacteria emits harmful chemical substances which attack the surface of the teeth and causes holes to develop. Food particles may get stuck in these holes and lead to further infection. Dental caries is an infectious disease, it damages the structure of the tooth and if not treated on time can lead to teeth having holes. Dental fillings are done to cover these holes and improve the functionality of teeth. Most common types of dental fillings are amalgam, gold and metal alloys, or porcelain/composite filling (matches your tooth color).

Family dentists also provide information on various dentistry related topics. If you have any doubts or wish to know more about a specific dental procedure, the best way to start would be to contact your dentist.

General Dentistry To The Rescue

We all need an adviser at certain points of our lives. No matter how able you are, there are always certain situations where you need assistance of someone else to deal with a problem at hand, whether an outsider’s view or an expert’s advice. General Dentists are like those specialists, which can help you deal with regular dental problems.

Technically, General Dentists are not specialists. Specialist dentists are those who are trained to tackle problems related to one branch of dentistry, for example, an Oral Surgeon can perform surgery, an Orthodontist specializes in orthodontics, a Periodontist would deal only with gum related problems and an Endodontist will do root canal or pulp related treatments. On the other hand, dentists who practice General Dentistry can perform many forms of dental procedures, depending upon their experience and skill.

These dentists are a great assistance to families as they provide an array of dental services under one roof. These services include –

• Cleaning – The most basic and one of the most important dental services dentists can provide is cleaning. There are parts of the mouth which a toothbrush or dental floss can’t reach and hence they become breeding points for germs. Timely cleaning helps maintain a good oral hygiene and prevents gum diseases.

• Root Canal Treatment – When there is an infection in the root canal of a tooth, it becomes imperative to remove decayed nerve tissue and pulp, in order to restore tooth health. General dentists can perform the entire procedure, beginning from extraction of the pulp to restorations.

• Extraction – In case of an exaggerated decay in the tooth, infection or in case of an impacted wisdom tooth, extraction is considered the best option to treat the condition. With the use of sedation, an experienced dentist can perform this procedure comfortably.

• Dental Implants – Almost all General Dentistry clinics offer dental implant service, which can be listed as a cosmetic dentistry service too. It requires precision and expertise, but skilled general dentists are qualified enough to carry out this procedure.

• Crowns – For a broken tooth surface, you need not go to a cosmetic dentist, your general dentist can fix a dental crown, also known as dental cap.

• Family Dentistry – Possibly the best and the most useful service provided by general dentists is this one. When you have a place where your entire family can get their share of dental care, half of your worries are over. A general dentist close to home or office is a blessing for any family, as dentists offer comprehensive services for patients of all ages.

• Emergency Service – When in need of immediate dental care, you can call your nearby general or family dentist who offers emergency service and help will be at hand in quick time.

Apart from offering multiple dental services, General Dentistry clinics have many more advantages over specialists. The biggest advantage is that services provided by general dentists are a lot cheaper than those provided by specialists. Plus, you can visit a general practitioner almost anytime or with a quick appointment, while to visit a specialist, you will have to wait for an appointment. Of course specialists have their own set of advantages, especially in complex cases they should be the first preference. You will have to carefully choose a dentist, after reading the testimonials by former patients and gaining knowledge about the experience of the dentist, technology and tools in use at the clinic, all of which are factors that should be taken into consideration while picking a dentist.

Make an informed decision and take the full advantage of a multitude of services offered at general and family dental clinics.

Dentistry: Offering Preventative and Restorative Oral Health Care

If you are looking for a dentistry practice that will accommodate the interests and oral health needs of your entire family, a well-established family dental practice may have just what you need. This type of practice is committed to making the entire family feel at home. With a full array of dental services offered to you and your family members, you will be able to have a bright, white smile, along with healthy teeth and gums.

If you are interested in getting a cosmetic procedure known as veneers, you can ask your family dentistry practice if they offer this service. This dental procedure is often used to restore a single tooth that may have been discolored or fractured, but you can get veneers for multiple teeth in order to create a glamorous, “Hollywood” smile.

Other reasons a person may opt to get veneers include individuals who have worn away the edges of their teeth, resulting in a prematurely aged look, individuals who have small teeth that cause spaces, which are not easily closed, and individuals whose teeth are badly positioned and appear crooked. If you receive multiple veneers, it can lengthen teeth that have become shortened by wear, close spaces, provide uniform symmetry, shape, and color, fill in black triangles caused by receding gums, and make your teeth appear straight.

Additional dental procedures you may be able to receive from a family dentistry include implant placement, bridges and crowns, teeth whitening, sealants, extraction, tooth cleaning, and the filling of cavities. They may also be able to help you with sleep apnea and snoring problems, halitosis, and the fitting of mouth guards to prevent tooth damage due to teeth grinding.

There are differences between a general and family dentistry practice in that the general focuses on restorative services while the family uses both restorative and preventative measures for overall oral health care. A family practice also focuses on patient psychological factors such as providing comfort for a child who may be apprehensive about visiting the dentist. It is best to see a dentist at least twice a year for tooth cleaning and a check-up, in order to prevent tooth decay and plaque buildup.

If you are interested in the services a family dentistry practice provides, call their offices for additional information. A professional staff member will be able to answer any questions you may have and can even help you set up an appointment so you can come and check out the facilities before committing your time and money.

Sedation Dentistry – The Growing Practicality

Too many Americans are going without regular dental health care – and that’s the perfect recipe for letting minor dental issues develop into major problems that are much more costly-to-repair. Dental anxiety or unusual sensitivity to pain can result in people not getting regular checkups. That’s why one of the most important changes in the world of dentistry is that sedation dentistry is so much more readily available. This information is an opportunity for you to understand a bit about its history, current approaches, and why it is a very practical and safe consideration for dental patients.

How new is sedation dentistry?
You may not have heard much about it until the past few decades, but it’s been around for a long, long time. One of the sedation techniques that is still used today dates back to the 1840s. That is when Connecticut dentist Horace Wells first experimented with and introduced the use of nitrous oxide, sometimes called laughing gas. And it was actually another dentist (one of Wells’ students) who introduced the use of ether as a form of general anesthesia.

Since that 19th century progressive thought leadership in the field of dentistry and pain management, the range of techniques and medications used has broadened, and great strides have been made in providing safe administration of dental sedation. In the 21st century, both the world of dentistry and the world of medicine at large have an excellent understanding of the risks associated with all types of sedation and anesthesia.

In addition, dentistry also has a much better understanding of how two different issues – anxiety and pain – are so tightly intertwined. Dentists also are highly trained in the use of both psychological and pharmacological approaches that can be used to manage either or both issues.

Are there different types of sedation dentistry?
In October, 2007, the ADA (American Dental Association) adopted guidelines that address three different levels of sedation – minimal, moderate, and deep sedation. (While the document Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists is accessible on the ADA website, it is written in language more suited to those in the field of dentistry.)

What the general public should understand, though, is that these are guidelines – not legal requirements for practicing dentists. In the United States, the regulatory responsibility for the practice of dentistry lies with the individual states. Some states have recently adopted specific laws that govern the practice of sedation dentistry as a service to the residents of the state – to afford them the assurance of safety in the use of this increasingly popular dental service. Individual states are not bound to adoption of the ADA guidelines; they can define their own levels of sedation as well as the training, experience, and accreditation process that will be used. That is not to say that the ADA is not highly influential in the individual states’ decision-making process.

What kind of sedation is likely to be right for me?
That is an excellent question, but also one to which there is no accurate answer unless you are well-versed in dentistry. Some of the difficulty lies in the fact that there are different levels of sedation dentistry available, and that the number and names of those levels can vary among states where regulations are in place. And the answer can also be specific dental procedure(s) being performed. However, this basic information can be helpful to you as you start considering sedation dentistry for yourself or a family member.

– Sedation, as well as general anesthesia, is a pharmacological way of altering your level of awareness of what is happening around you (i.e., your level of consciousness).

– Your level of awareness/consciousness does not “step down” by specific levels, it is a continuous scale. (That’s why defining specific levels of sedation is, technically speaking, somewhat fuzzy. Levels are normally tied to a range of awareness/consciousness, which will have some overlap with the level above and below.)

– The medications used to provide sedation can vary. In addition, some are administered orally, some by inhalation, and some intravenously (in the veins). Sometimes medications are used in combination. Both the type of medication and how it is administered are usually factors in how various states define their regulatory statutes and levels of sedation.

– Different people respond differently to the same medication, even if they have the same physical characteristics and the exact same dose is administered. That’s why training, experience, and safety measures are important in sedation dentistry.

– Patient risk (and the potential need for resuscitation) rises as the patient’s degree of awareness and consciousness lessens. In general, you should not ask to be sedated more than your circumstances would suggest.

– Sedation dentistry is not a substitute for local anesthesia (numbing agents). Some people assume that their dentist will only use one or the other. The decision to use sedation is, for the most part, a separate decision from that to use local anesthesia, even though both are pharmacological methods used to provide patient comfort.

A Matter of Practicality
What type of sedation is right for you is not a decision that you need to make for yourself. Your sedation dentist should base his sedation approach on the specific procedure, your personal sensitivity to pain, the degree to which you may experience dental anxiety, and whether for practical reasons it makes sense to sedate you for an extended period of time for the service(s) being provided.

If you have dental anxiety that is related to a previous painful experience, sedation dentistry, or perhaps just the fact that your dentist is qualified to provide sedation may be the very thing you, and many others like you, need to get regular check-ups, address existing dental problems, and make sure you maintain your oral health. More and more studies are revealing a relationship between oral health and your overall general health.

For those interested in cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry can often be a means to more quickly achieve the smile of your dreams. With sedation, it is often possible for your cosmetic dentist to combine into a single extended visit what would otherwise require two or more visits.

Whether you do or don’t need sedation services right now, why not look into sedation dentistry? A dentist who offers sedation dentistry – especially in states that mandate special training, experience, and equipment – is one who makes patient comfort, as well as good oral health, a priority.

Family Dentistry Care for All Ages

Caring for your teeth is an important part of overall health maintenance. Choosing the right practice to care for your family’s dental needs is a difficult decision to make. Finding a qualified family dentistry practice can enable every member of your family to see the same practitioners, which can simplify your life.

Assessing the Training

The qualifications of a family dentistry clinic will be one of the main factors that you consider as you assess various practices. Dentists must attend a dental school to receive formal training. After graduation, the next step involves testing to earn a license. Caring for teeth is an evolving process as methods of care and new techniques continue to be released. To remain cognizant of the latest advancements within the field, a professional needs to receive additional training every year. Membership within organizations is also preferred to ensure ongoing training.

Experience Counts

It is recommended to take your family to a respected dentist with years of experience and reliable credentials. Ask about the procedures the professional has experience with, and the number of times the professional has performed the procedures, to get an idea of their proficiency.

Services Offered

Some family dentistry offices only offer general care, and others provide other types of procedures in additional to the general care. Possible services that could be offered include orthodontics, sedation, and restorative or cosmetic dentistry. If you find a clinic that offers these services, find out more details, such as the number of procedures performed and the length of time the clinic has been offering this type of care. A professional should have specific training and experience in specialized services. For example, cosmetic dentistry involves a number of very specialized procedures. If you need this type of care, make sure the professional you choose has the required expertise. If a clinic does not offer the services you need, find out about referrals to other professionals.

Consider the Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the office can also play a part in your decision in choosing a clinic. Visit the office and notice the waiting room, the staff, and the exam rooms. Look around to see whether the offices feel comfortable and look clean. Note the staff and whether they seem professional and friendly. If you have young children, the staff should be able to help your kids feel comfortable and safe by explaining terms and procedures in a nonthreatening way.

Additional Details

Ask questions about additional details that are a part of tooth care. For example, find out how the clinic handles emergencies and whether emergency appointments are available during off hours. Ask about availability of appointments and the typical wait for a cleaning appointment. Find out about cancellation policies, co-payments, and make sure the office takes your insurance, if applicable.

With some research, you can ensure that the practice you choose for your family dentistry care will serve everyone’s needs for many years. Having a professional that you know and trust to take care of your teeth can be a source of great comfort.