Did you know that one of the most trusted and ethical professions in the United States is dentistry? That’s right, your family dentistry practice — even if you don’t like to go — is in the top ten professions here. We should all give our family dentist more love (and check in for regular appointments!). They’re responsible for keeping our oral health in tip-top shape, from preventive care to referrals for teeth straightening or teeth whitening. They offer medical care but also care for our physical appearance. A good smile can have wider reaching repercussions than we might think. For example, almost three-quarters of adults believe that a bad smile can hurt them on a professional level (this per a survey from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry). We’ll discuss what you should know about your family dentistry and some of the best ways to keep your smile in good shape.
Family dentistry is essentially what it sounds like — it’s the dentistry practice that takes care of your family. They’re equipped to assist with your oral health no matter how old you are. Children and adults have different dental needs and your family dentist is equipped to care for both baby and permanent teeth.
You can expect to get routine cleanings and fluoride treatments from them, as well as checking for cavities (and filling them, if needed). You may also get an orthodontics referral from your family dentist and they can treat you for gum disease as well.
Your family dentist is also likely your first stop for referrals if you’re looking for a cosmetic dentist, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, or other type of professional who specializes in oral care.
It’s not too hard to keep your dentist happy! Brushing and flossing at least twice a day (but after every meal, if you can) is one easy way. Some dentists may also suggest the regular use of mouthwash as well, especially anti-cavity mouthwash, if you’re particularly prone to cavities. You should also be checking in with them once every six months.
Regularly going to the dentist also helps you — it’s likely that cleanings will be less painful if you’re getting them done routinely and your dentist will be able to better monitor and gauge your oral health. If anything looks off, they can nip it in the bud early. Most insurance plans also cover at least one preventive visit in full now, as well.
Cutting down on sugar and starch and generally eating healthier can also help prevent tooth decay — something any dentist always likes to see! Be mindful of particularly hard or sticky substances that can pull out fillings or potentially break teeth like toffee, nuts, and caramel. Also be mindful about coffee, wine, and tea — these substances can easily stain teeth. A good brush after drinking these substances can help improve how your breath smells, but also keep your teeth whiter!
One of the best ways to find a dentist — and any medical professional — is to ask for personal recommendations from family, friends, colleagues, or people in your community. It means that they’re satisfied with the care they’re getting, which likely means you will too!
Your doctor can also likely give you a referral and if you’re moving to a new place, your previous dentist might be able to help as well! Ideally, they’ll submit claims to all insurances and have payment plans in place for those who are uninsured.
See if you can find out if the dentists are engaged in regular ongoing education, how treatment plans (and costs) are discussed with the patient, and what office hours look like compared to what your schedule allows.
Finding a good family dentist is one of the first things you should do when moving to a new area, as well as arranging for a primary care physician. Oral health is extremely important to the rest of our health, so we need to keep on top of it!