While some dentists restrict their practice to a particular age group, those with a family dentistry practice do not. Instead, they work with all ages to assist in the general maintenance of healthy gums, teeth, and overall oral hygiene. If you have a small child, however, you may be wondering if a general or pediatric dentist is best.
Many consider family dentistry the first line of defense against dental abnormalities. These practices serve as the starting point for checkups every six months, providing deep cleanings to eliminate buildup. In addition to visually inspecting your mouth, the doctor may also take X-rays to determine if there are cavities or other problems.
A person in this field must first earn an undergraduate degree, usually in an area of science, although this is not required, and pass the Dental Admission Test. After this, the student endures an additional three to five years of study at dental school. Prior to graduation, all students must pass the National Board Dental Examinations in order to obtain a license. Students graduate with a Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine.
General dentists can see children of all ages and even see adults. This is great for households that want to keep all their children going to the same person as they grow. It makes it easy for you as parents to also make time to see the doctor to care for your oral health.
Children do have special needs as they mature. Doctors trained in family dentistry know and understand these needs. They can treat loose teeth and cavities just as well as pediatric specialists. Additionally, they are able to prevent many dental problems with fluoride.
These doctors do not attach or manipulate braces. However, they can diagnose when your child needs braces and set you up with an appointment with an orthodontist.
If your child has special needs, your dental office may refer you to a pediatric dentist. These doctors have had additional post-graduate training.
If your child is very small or has a hard time at the doctor, then your dentist may suggest pediatric dentistry.
As with a general dentist, this professional cannot attach or maintain braces. They can help with other preventative measure and refer you to an orthodontist if necessary.
Family dentistry is a great place to start if you want one doctor to see all your children regardless of age. They can help your child maintain healthy teeth and gums and get them on the road to great oral hygiene.