Family dentists are concerned with oral health throughout the life of a patient, not just during adolescence. Family dentistry overlaps with general dentistry, although usually those with family dentistry also have some general dental training as well. Some family dentists can even be trained as pediatricians. This article focuses on family dentistry.
As part of their overall health work, a family dentist will meet with patients and families to determine what needs to be done in terms of oral health care. The first step is usually to review the current situation. Family dentists often work with children, so they deal with issues that affect young people, such as mouth pain resulting from dental implants or other problems. They will also review whether the child has healthy eating habits, has received regular dental checkups, and has had his or her teeth cleaned. Sometimes children need more attention than adults, because they may have special needs, such as sensitivity to pain.
Once the overall health of the patient has been reviewed, the dentist will likely want to speak with the patient about specific issues. If the child is dealing with specific issues, such as pain or infection, the family dentist will need to determine which treatment is appropriate for the age and type of problem. For example, if a child is dealing with chronic inflammation, an oral surgeon might be able to remove plaque from the mouth and restore the mouth to a healthier state.
An orthodontist, on the other hand, might be able to use braces to straighten out the jaws of a young patient. A general dentist might be able to use one of many methods to correct the teeth in these cases, including root canals, fillings, crowns, or other treatment options. If there is a problem involving the jaw, such as a gap or a loss of teeth, the family dentist will likely refer the patient to a specialist in this area.
A good dentist will make sure that you receive the proper dental treatment. For instance, a dentist may not recommend braces or other such treatments for your entire family until your child has received at least one braces treatment. The reason for this is that braces and other similar treatments may cause damage to your child’s teeth if they are worn for too long. In addition, it is not always possible to predict how long a particular treatment will take. Generally, the dentist will give you an estimate of how long you will need to wear braces.