When choosing a family dentist, parents may need to consider the ages of the children as well as the family's overall dental needs. If the children are old enough to sit in a dentist’s chair, they are good candidates for being treated by a regular family dentist, but these practices do not always take infants and very small kids.
Who do family dentists treat?
Before assuming a family dentist will accept very young children as patients, it is a good idea to call ahead and confirm with the dentist whether this is true before scheduling an appointment. If the whole family visits the same dentist, ask about when young children may be accepted into the practice. Most family dentists treat older children, teenagers, and adult patients.
Adult patients make up the bulk of a family dentist’s practice. From preventive oral health concerns like brushing, flossing, and controlling the buildup of plaque to minor procedures like filling cavities and providing teeth whitening, family dentists are a one-stop shop for maintaining great oral health and hygiene. These dental professionals, when seen on a regular basis, are able to help adult patients care for teeth as well as take X-rays and spot issues like hidden cavities and developing gum disease that could grow worse if left alone.
Older children and teenage patients
While older children often are not thrilled with the idea of dental or medical visits in general, kids may be happier to visit the dentist the rest of the family sees as there is a degree of familiarity. Family dentists can perform many of the same procedures, such as teeth cleaning and preventive care, for younger patients as for adult patients. Also of note is that while family dentists typically do not provide major orthodontic care, these professionals may be the first in line to observe tooth and jaw alignment issues and make recommendations for an older child or teenage patient to begin treatment with braces or aligners.
What concerns do family dentists treat?
Though family or general dentists receive education and training in treating a patient through a lifetime, these dentists typically do not accept babies or toddlers as patients. Parents are wise to seek alternative care for children this young in regards to teething and brushing first teeth and transfer these children to the family's chosen dental practice at an older age. Family dentists are able to provide oral health maintenance with regular teeth cleanings and cavity fillings as well as recommendations when patients need other forms of dental care.
When choosing a family dentist, keep in mind the family’s ages, dental habits, and oral health concerns. Though family dentists are indeed trained to treat the whole family, they most commonly serve older children, teenagers, and adult patients. Choosing the right professional allows you and your family to develop a productive relationship that can last for years to come.
Request an appointment or call Smiles by Design, PC at 256-660-3233 for an appointment in our Huntsville office.
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