Top 10 Questions People Ask About Family Dentistry

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WHY CHOOSE A FAMILY DENTIST

Choosing a family dentist has benefits the whole family can enjoy.

One benefit parents love? Scheduling dental appointments for the whole family on the same day to knock routine care from the agenda in one swoop. Saving time and travel expenses is always a win.

Sharing a dentist also helps families set a good example and model positive behavior for children. Children can see parents and/or older siblings receiving dental care in a comfortable, friendly environment. This builds trust with the dentist for when it’s their turn in the chair.

As your children get older they will be able to continue seeing the dentist they have grown up with. You won’t need to worry about them aging out of the practice and going through the process of finding a new dentist. This can be a big source of anxiety for many, and can even hold people back from getting regular routine dental care.

HERE ARE THE TOP 10 QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK ABOUT FAMILY DENTISTRY.

1. WHAT IS FAMILY DENTISTRY?

Family dentistry focuses on your unique oral health at every life stage. Children and adults each have different dental needs. A qualified family dentist has the training to deliver comprehensive care for both primary and permanent teeth. Typical family dentistry services include cleanings, fluoride treatments, cavity fillings, orthodontics, and gum disease treatment. A family dentist is also equally skilled in creating a positive dental experience for both adults and children.

2. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FAMILY DENTIST AND A PEDIATRIC DENTIST?

To become a general dentist one must complete a bachelor’s degree and four years of dental school. A pediatric dentist undergoes an additional two to three years of training specializing in children’s behavior and special dental needs.

A family dentist is trained in dealing with both adults’ and children’s needs. They can offer your family more treatment options, decreasing the need for referrals. A family dentist can treat the entire family, meaning you’re not driving to multiple locations.

3. HOW OFTEN DOES MY CHILD NEED TO SEE THE DENTIST?

Typically a child should see the dentist about twice a year to have routine exams and cleanings. However, during your child’s initial exam, the dentist will determine how often they need services based on their oral health. Permanent teeth are most vulnerable to decay when they have first sprouted, which usually occurs while children are between the ages of six and eight. This is a critical time to maintain regular checkups.

4. HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO SEE THE DENTIST?

The American Dental Association doesn’t have an exact recommendation for how often an adult should be seeing the dentist. As with children, it depends on your unique state of oral health. Generally, adults should have a routine cleaning and exam one to two times a year. During your initial exam, your dentist will make an assessment to determine how often you will need cleanings and exams to maintain optimum oral health. For example, those suffering from gum disease will need frequent visits to have periodontal cleanings that manage and remove the infection.

5. WHAT ARE SEALANTS AND WHY DOES MY CHILD NEED THEM?

Sealants are a thin, protective coating placed over teeth to protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth from developing cavities. In addition to regular flossing and brushing, sealants are a great line of defense against potential cavities. They can reduce the risk of decay in molars by as much as 80%.

Sealing molars as soon as they sprout through helps to protect them from developing cavities before they have a chance to develop. Sealants can last for several years before needing to be reapplied.

6. HOW CAN I PREVENT DENTAL DECAY FOR MY FAMILY?

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Save your family money, time, and discomfort by being vigilant about good oral hygiene habits now.

Every family member should brush their teeth twice a day with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. Avoid using whitening toothpastes for the whole family—extended use can lead to wearing down the critical enamel layer. Those who have teeth that touch one another should be flossing between them once a day. After meals swish your mouth with water to clear away food particles and acids. Start building your child’s healthy dental habits early on and visit the dentist regularly.

7. ARE DENTAL X-RAYS SAFE FOR MY FAMILY?

Dental X-Rays help dentists find signs of dental damage and disease that wouldn’t be found during a regular exam. X-rays today, thanks to advancements in technology, require less radiation than machines of the past. The techniques and equipment used are all designed to expose patients to as little radiation as possible. At Bela Family Dentistry of Newberry, we take every precaution we can to best protect our patients and ensure minimal exposure.

Your dentist will determine how often an individual needs X-rays done by the state of their oral health, disease risk level, and age. At times children will require more X-rays than adults as their teeth and jaws are still developing. Their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay due to primary teeth having a thinner layer of enamel and newly sprouted permanent teeth being more vulnerable to cavities.

8. IS FLUORIDE SAFE?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water, soil, and air. Almost all water sources contain some levels of fluoride and it is added to many public water supplies in the United States to help prevent cavities in the population.

Fluoride, when consumed in large amounts, can be toxic. Toothpaste contains large concentrations of fluoride and should never be swallowed. But the amounts added to water are safe for consumption and beneficial to our overall well-being.

Fluoride strengthens teeth by integrating with the other minerals found in the enamel layer of your teeth. This makes teeth less susceptible to decay and prevents minerals leeching. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride toothpaste use for both children and adults in appropriate, safe amounts.

9. IS FLUORIDE TOOTHPASTE SAFE FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS?

As soon as a child’s teeth start to come in, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends beginning a brushing routine using a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. It is important to note that small children need just the tiniest amount of toothpaste—no more than about the size of a grain of rice.

Children develop the ability to spit at around the age of three and so can begin to use a slightly larger amount of toothpaste—about the size of a pea. They should be monitored during brushing time until they are around six years of age as during this time they are still developing their swallowing reflex.

10. WHY DO PRIMARY TEETH NEED DENTAL CARE IF THEY ARE ONLY TEMPORARY?

Primary teeth, most often called baby teeth, despite being temporary are very important to your child’s lifelong health and development. These teeth, in addition to helping children chew, speak, and smile, hold space within the jaw for the teeth developing below.

Primary teeth that are lost too soon create an empty space that the permanent teeth below can then shift into. This shifting can cause problems for the other teeth developing in that space, leading to crooked and crowded permanent teeth.

Properly caring for your child’s primary teeth protects the development of their permanent teeth. Help your child develop the healthy habits that ensure a properly aligned smile they’ll enjoy for decades to come.

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