Family dentistry much like general dentistry focuses on services related to the overall general maintenance of tooth health and oral hygiene. Though the two names are often considered synonymous, there is a difference between the two; mainly being that family dentistry will not typically have restrictive services in relation to one age group, but rather will provide services for an entire family.
Because family dentistry is considered to be on the frontline of defense against dental problems, it is considered to be a preventative field. Some of the services that you can expect from a family dentistry professional include:
• Maintenance Cleaning: It is recommended by the American Dental Association, or ADA, that you and your family visit your family dentist two times per year for a routine checkup. Part of the checkup is a ‘maintenance’ cleaning of your teeth to rid them of any heavy plaque buildup which will help to prevent the onset of tooth decay.
• Fluoride Treatment: At the discretion of your family dentist it may be necessary to have a fluoride treatment done to your teeth. This treatment will help coat your teeth and protect them from decay.
• X-Rays: On some routine checkups you will be required to have x-rays or radiographs taken of your mouth which will help uncover any tooth or jaw problems that may necessitate attention. Problems such as cavities are a common find when radiographs are taken.
• Filling Cavities: Most family dental practices have the onsite capability to fill in any cavities that may be discovered during a routine checkup. This is vital so that the problem does not get worse and require a crown, dental implant, root canal, or even oral surgery.
All family dentistry professionals will have the initials of DDS or DMD following their name. These are acronyms for degrees that have been awarded in the field of dentistry and stand for Degree of Dental Surgery and Degree of Dental Medicine respectively. Some are confused as to which degree is better than the other and feel that it is an important factor in deciding which family dentistry professional to go with. But the two acronyms are simply different names for the same education that are awarded after dental students pass the National Board Dental Examinations.
Instead of focusing on letters at the end of a name you should focus on the individual family dentistry professional themselves. Before you make a decision on who will provide you with your family dentistry needs you should talk to several different family dentists and see what kind of feeling you get with each. You can also ask extended family and friends who they use and see what their experiences are. Remember, it is your family you are considering and the well being of their teeth so you owe it to yourself to take the time and be sure that the family dentistry professional you choose is the best possible choice for you and your family.
Family and Cosmetic Dentistry
Although family dentists are typically associated with preventative and restorative dentistry, many pursue additional training in order to provide cosmetic dentistry services such as teeth whitening and porcelain veneers. Family dentists who perform cosmetic procedures normally refer to themselves as family and cosmetic dentists.
Family and cosmetic dentists have more training than typical family dentists, though they occasionally refer some people to other dentists if specialized treatments are required. Specialists may include orthodontists (for teeth straightening), endodontists (for more complex root canal treatments), prosthodontists (for more complex crowns or for dental implants) and maxillofacial surgeons (for oral surgery). For very young children (ages four and younger), a family dentist may recommend a pediatric dentist, who has knowledge and training related to young children and early tooth health.
back to the top»
Types of Teeth Cleaning
Benefits of Prophylaxis/Teeth Cleaning
Scaling and Root Planing
Dental Product Review