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Family Dental Practice: What It Is And The Best Way To Find One

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Everyone in your family has unique oral care needs throughout their lives. The good news is that there are dental offices that cater to various family oral care needs! You just have to know where to look and what to ask for. Learn more about family dental groups and why they may be a good fit for you.

Family dentist vs. General dentist

Family dentistry has been around for a long time. But family dental offices are unique because they provide a variety of treatments in-house. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), most dentists in North America – about 158,000 – practice general dentistry. General dentists can treat most oral care issues for the whole family, and they are considered your primary care dentist. Many general dentists have specialties, like orthodontics, root canal therapy, or even cosmetic dentistry.

Family dental groups or practices typically offer specialties or services for the whole family at the same location. With family dentists, you can schedule appointments for multiple family members at the same time. Of course, this depends on the schedule and availability of the dental office. Still, you can ask offices when searching for a family dentist. Having this kind of scheduling ability means less time waiting for back-to-back appointments or appointments on multiple days.

Benefits of a family dentist

Family dental groups are popular because they are so versatile. Most family dental groups have multiple dentists in their practice, offering the convenience of a "one-stop" solution for all your family's oral care needs. Suppose you need a pediatric dentist, an endodontist, or an orthodontist. In that case, you can find family dentists that provide all three in one office.

Family dental groups can make dentist visits positive experiences for children, especially. Children should have a dentist and dental hygienist who are gentle, patient, and comfortable working with kids. Kind and gentle dentists and dental hygienists will keep children comfortable and encouraged. It's worth the effort to find the perfect dental professional that makes your kids feel comfortable so they can have a lifelong positive attitude toward dental appointments.

How to find a state-of-the-art family dental practice

Many family dental groups have efficient and modern technology and facilities. All you have to do is research what you need and ask offices what they offer. Ask about the procedures and equipment the office uses when choosing your family dentist.

Today, many dental groups prefer safer X-ray machines and better imagining software to show patients any issues. This technology is called intraoral camera exams. The dentist can magnify problem areas on a monitor using a small camera. These are just two examples of modern technology found at most dental offices.

Intraoral cameras and newer X-ray machines are less invasive, which can really help children with dental anxiety. Check with your insurance carrier and research treatment plans when choosing a family dentist to ensure there are no surprises.

How to find a family dentist

A good family dental group will have worked with adults and kids, including very young children. You should search for a family dentist who can understand and respond to your family's various needs, such as losing those first teeth, fluoride needs, and even tooth whitening for the adults.

Consider the following as you are looking for a family dental group:

  1. List the needs of your family members. Will one child need braces while another needs only a regular cleaning? Some dental groups have both a general dentist and orthodontist in the office.
  2. Does the group have a pediatric dentist on-site? Pediatric dentists treat young children, young patients with special needs or disabilities.

Experience and rapport are vital for a long-term relationship. Read the family dental practice's website to read biographies, specialties, and services offered. You can ask friends and family for recommendations and read reviews online.

You should be able to ask questions and bring up concerns to your dentist and dental hygienist, including asking for product recommendations, healthy snack ideas, and demonstrations of flossing skills. You should learn more about preventative oral care and teach your children proper oral care habits with help from the family dental group.

Aside from experience and rapport, there are some convenience factors to look for as well:

  • Is the family dental group located close to home?
  • Are you able to schedule appointments conveniently, and do they send reminders?
  • What are the payment options available, including financing for procedures not covered by dental insurance?
  • Is the dental team professional and caring with their patients?

You can search for dentists in your area through reputable sites like the American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site. Don't be afraid to be picky about your dentist. A family dental group can provide dental care to your whole family throughout your children's lives.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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