Busy parents know scheduling appointments for everyone in your family can take time. Finding a family dental group can mean fewer individual office visits, if you know where to look.
Family Dental Group: What It Is And The Best Way To Find One
Although family dental groups have been around for years, they're unique in that they provide a variety of treatments in-house, whereas many practices are built around a specialty. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), the majority of dentists in North America – about 140,000 – practice general dentistry. General dentists can treat your whole family and are considered your primary care dentist.
To be sure, general dentists often do have training in many specialized areas, like orthodontics, root canal therapy and even cosmetic dentistry. What makes family dental groups appealing is how they offer more than one specialized dentist in their practice, offering the convenience of a "one-stop" solution for all your family's dental care needs. Whether you need a pediatric dentist, someone who specializes in treating children's teeth; or an endodontist, who treats the pulp and root – you can find family dentists who provide what you need at one office.
It's also more likely you can schedule appointments for multiple family members at the same time. Although this is largely up to how individual practices schedule their patients, it's a good idea to ask up front when searching for a family dental group. This means less time waiting for back-to-back appointments, or appointments on multiple days.
When it comes to providing the most efficient technology and facilities, there's little difference between a family dentist and general dentist. It's really a matter of research. Be sure to ask about the procedures and equipment the office uses when considering it as your family dentist.
Today, many dental groups prefer to offer this advanced technology. Digital X-rays, which use much less radiation, according to 1-800-DENTIST, are safer than traditional X-ray machines. Dentists can also perform intraoral camera exams, wherein they can magnify problem areas on a monitor using a small camera. These are just some of the services you can find across all specialties.
On the whole, advanced technology is less invasive, making an office visit more manageable for kids and patients who are uneasy going to the dentist. When considering a family dental group, check with your insurance carrier and research treatment plans ahead of time; coverage amounts can vary with advanced technology.
As always, however, keep up your family's great oral care when not at the dentist. Use mouthwashes like Colgate Total® Advanced Pro-Shield™, which can give your family 12 hours of protection against almost every germ in your mouth on contact.
- Consider the needs of your family. Will one member need braces while another needs a basic cleaning? Look for a group that has both a general dentist and orthodontist on site.
- Find out whether the group has a pediatric dentist on site. Some family groups treat all members, but don't necessarily cater their approach to children. These dentists won't require you to switch to a new dentist when your child gets older, and the practice will already be familiar with his or her medical history.
- Work with the ADA and similar associations that help you find a family dental group according to your specific needs.