Moms and dads often wonder if they should choose a family dentist who can see all family members or if choosing a pediatric dentist for their children would be a wise move. The main reason parents choose a family dentist is doing so allows them to make one visit for multiple family members, but consider several other reasons during the decision-making process. What should be taken into account at this time to ensure parents get the right dental practice for each family member?
When choosing a dentist, whether it be a family dental practice such as Foothills Family Dentistry or a dedicated pediatric dentist, consider the services offered at the practice. Does the practice offer general, restorative, and cosmetic procedures or will the family member need to see multiple providers to get the desired services? Services parents should ask about when making this choice include periodontics, endodontics, dental implants, teeth whitening, and emergency treatment among others. Look into sedation dentistry at this time, as it becomes of great help with children and adults who fear the dentist. However, children can have accidents, which is why cosmetic dentistry becomes of great importance.
A person’s smile plays a role in how confident they are, especially during the teen years. A chipped or cracked tooth needs treatment immediately to prevent this loss of confidence, and cosmetic dentistry services become or great help in correcting the problem and restoring the child’s smile. This may involve the use of dental bonding, porcelain veneers, reshaping of the tooth, or another procedure.
In addition, children might develop a cavity and need a filling or a root canal, depending on the extent of the decay. Typically, children don’t need dental implants, dentures, or bridgework, but parents must be sure to ask if these services are offered. While many parents focus on their children and what they need, oral health continues to be of great importance as a person age. Ask if the dentist can treat a range of conditions commonly seen in adults and what treatment options they offer for different situations.
When choosing a family dentist, take the dental office into consideration. Does it offer a family-friendly feel, or is the environment geared to adults? Children get impatient when they must wait, and dentists deal with emergencies at times. Make certain the children have something to keep them occupied if this happens when you are visiting the dentist. At a minimum, the office should provide a few books and toys for children to play with as they wait to see the dentist. However, some dental practices go further and offer games and activities to keep the children occupied. This is something parents want to know beforehand. However, the office also needs to recognize they see patients of all ages and ensure they have items to keep adults engaged while waiting as well.
While a family dental practice reduces the number of trips parents make to the dentist, make certain the office remains convenient to the home, workplaces, and schools. Nobody wants to drive across town to see their dentist, which tempts parents to put off needed dental care if the office is inconvenient. Parents must ensure both they and their children see the dentist a minimum of twice a year for cleanings and checkups to catch problems early. Oral health impacts overall health, so never put these visits off.
Continuity of Care
Using a family practice ensures continuity of care as the child grows. When a child sees a pediatric dentist, they must make the move to a general dentist when they reach adulthood. This doesn’t happen if they select a family dentist. The child continues going to the same practice and sees dental practitioners familiar with their dental history and any work they have had done.
Pediatric dentists work with children and parents to educate them on how best to preserve good oral health. Early education helps to prevent problems down the road. Additionally, pediatric dentists monitor the child’s oral health and any changes over the years. They may recommend a night mouth guard or braces for the child, and they can assess any problems that might require surgery at each visit to see if progress is being made or if the child needs to see an oral surgeon. Additionally, many pediatric dentists can be of help with wisdom teeth, so be sure to ask if this is the case with the dentist being considered.
Accidents happen, especially when it comes to children. A family practice often provides emergency care for established patients, and parents need to ask about this service when choosing a family dental practice. Parents appreciate having a family dentist at this time, as they feel comfortable with the staff members due to the amount of time they interact with them. When parents use one dental practice and children use another, the depth of the relationship may suffer. This isn’t the case when all family members use the same practice. The family gets to know the staff and the staff knows the family. This becomes of great comfort during an emergency situation. Consider the above when choosing a dental practice for your family.
Parents who do so find their choice benefits them in a variety of ways above and beyond those mentioned above. Make certain the practice works with your insurance provider and make an appointment for each family member right away. Certain family members may not require any care at this time, but it allows the practice to establish that first contact while making certain all parties feel comfortable with each other. Furthermore, children often feel better when they visit the dentist for the first time without needing to have any work done. They get a feel for the office and speak with the dentist and staff members. This reduces the fear when they go in for a visit. Parents should never discount the importance of this, as they want their children to feel comfortable with the dentist to benefit their oral health now and in the future.