It is perhaps easy to underestimate the value of a family dentistry practice. However, family dentistry provides age-appropriate care for each member of a family; helping to identify issues from the moment teeth appear all the way through into adulthood. We all experience changes to our teeth, jaw, bite, and gums as we age. Family history and lifestyle, diet and level of activity are some of the factors which impact treatment recommendations and so it makes good sense to share a dental professional caring for the oral health of the whole family.
A quality family dentistry clinic will not only be able to provide the expert care required for all family members in all of their life’s stages, but the whole dental team gets to know your family and follows each of you throughout your lives offering the expert care, instruction, advice and support each family member needs. Here are some expanded reasons for why family dentistry is so important to everyone’s health and wellbeing.
Creating Dental Histories
When your family visits the same dentist from day one, each family member has an accurate health and dental history that is maintained checkup after checkup. As a result, you receive exceptional care, as your dental team has more complete dental records. They also keep records of your general health, as well as any concerns regarding your treatment. We understand if you are anxious with certain treatments for example, or prefer not to have fluoride; we know when it’s time for x-rays or if we need to keep an eye on certain aspects of your dental health.
Each checkup provides new insights, and all treatments are recorded so we know when you had a filling, a crown, lost a tooth, received a mouthguard, etc. We can more easily monitor for issues and will notice changes such as chips and cracks, wisdom teeth development, or problems with your gums. This allows us to take a more proactive approach to your dental care.
Having trust in your healthcare professionals helps ensure you receive the best possible care. Why? Because you will feel more comfortable discussing issues and asking questions. This is especially important for parents, as trust in their dental team enables them to raise issues even if they seem silly. More importantly, your children learn that dental offices are nothing to fear. They know they are safe and will be more likely to continue ongoing dental checkups for life.
Proactive Dental Care
Because your dental history is complete, your family dentist will notice changes to your teeth and gums that a new dentist might not. Things such as discolouration in your children’s teeth are important clues to potential issues. As well, we look for issues such as enamel wear that could mean you or a family member are grinding their teeth. Discomfort in the jaw is another sign of problems, whether it is grinding, clenching, or issues with bite.
We can provide a mouthguard should your child join their first sports team, and detect other dental issues, from the need for braces to complications of wisdom teeth. For parents, we keep an eye out for health conditions including oral cancers. All of these issues benefit from early detection that will reduce the risk of things progressing into something more serious.
Care For All Ages
Family dentistry provides care for all ages, from babies through to seniors. Whether you live with your parents or help get them to their health care appointments, family dentistry can play an important role in their overall care. Some examples of how dentists can assist in keeping adult family members healthy include:
- Patients with body part replacements such as prosthetic joints, heart stents or heart valves require taking an antibiotic before cleanings and dental treatments to avoid infection.
- Patients with high blood pressure or who are taking blood pressure medicines can experience issues that will affect dental health such as dry mouth, which increases risk for tooth decay.
- High blood pressure patients who suffer from dental anxiety are also at risk as their blood pressure can rise at dental appointments. Proper precautions should be taken including ensuring blood pressure levels are safe in order to receive treatment.
- Allergies to certain medications or even latex must also be considered, not only for older patients but patients of all ages.
- Local anesthetics can adversely affect those on certain medications or people with certain health conditions as they can constrict blood vessels.
Catching Health Conditions Early
Your family dentist can help detect many systemic diseases such as diabetes. According to research, most systemic diseases cause issues such as swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems. These diseases include:
- Oral cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
Parents and grandparents could be at risk for these conditions and diseases, so early detection can help keep you healthier. Other signs we watch for include:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Bone loss
- Jaw pain
We will recommend informing your family doctor of these issues, so he/she can consider further tests to explore possible health conditions.
Save Time With One Appointment
Time demands on families today can be difficult to manage. When everyone goes to the same family dentistry clinic, you can book all of your dental checkups on the same day. This way you don’t have to take extra time away from work for everyone’s separate appointments, and can attend to your own needs while being there to discuss your kids’ dental concerns with your dentist. You are saving time, reducing stress, and making it a fun family event.
As a bonus to keep things even simpler, billing becomes easier with just one family dentistry office to deal with. If you have health insurance, you can either direct bill everyone’s fees at the same time if your dentist offers direct billing, or if submitting the paperwork yourself, you can complete just one claim form on behalf of everyone in the family. If you don’t have dental insurance you can often arrange with your dentist a payment schedule that works for you.
Finding a local family dentistry clinic can make it easier for you to attend appointments. For example, if a child needs to see the dentist during school hours, it may be easier to get to the office if it is in your neighbourhood. As well, early morning appointments may be easier for working parents. Family dentistry is the best way to keep your family’s dental health in check and create long-lasting relationships for lifelong oral health.