Why Your Family Needs a Family Dentist
If you have a family of your own, there is a good chance that you have sought out a family practitioner for your family’s medical needs. Of course, there are other options to address these needs such as seeing a general practitioner or opting to see a doctor on shift at a medicentre, but presumably you choose to see a family doctor because they are the best fit for your family.
Your reasons for choosing a family doctor over a general practitioner are likely similar to the reasons many families elect to see a family dentist. If you’re debating whether you should seek out a family dentist in Edmonton, here are a few things to consider.
Family Dentists for the Long Haul
Your family’s dental health is important to you, so a good relationship with your dental professional in which there is mutual trust and respect is critical. You may have small children who are apprehensive about seeing a dentist, so being greeted with a smiling familiar face goes a long way in helping your children feel comfortable in the clinical setting. A family doctor is highly attuned to the needs of young children and responds to their apprehension using a host of tools and techniques to minimize anxiety.
From the décor to the reading material, your family dentist ensures that the environment is as welcoming as possible. Patients have access to screens for distraction, and support staff makes it a priority to offer reassurance to children in the dental chair. In fact, dental staff is hand-selected to ensure that each member of the team has the patience, bedside manner and positive attitude required to offer the patient the best experience each time that they are with us.
Sometimes, accommodating patient comfort needs requires additional time. Your family dentist is happy to comply because their relationship with their clients is more than just a transaction – it’s a long-term relationship! Like pediatricians, pediatric dentists discharge their patients in early adulthood and the patient is often left looking for a new dentist. After working with the same pediatric dentist for so long, this can be a sore spot for patients who relied on their pediatric dentist to guide them through their visits – building that trust takes time!
Unlike pediatric dentists, a family dentist’s goal is to retain your business throughout your life! That’s right, a family dentist can begin seeing a patient in their early years and continue throughout adulthood! Because family dentists offer their services to any member of the family unit, there are no age restrictions on who they will see. That means that your family dentist can offer excellent continuity of care for your family’s dental needs over time.
Since your family doctor is familiar with the dental profiles of each member of the family, they are best positioned to identify common dental concerns among the family unit such as genetic disorders. This is particularly useful to help anticipate and intervene early in the development of the disorder, or to take steps to mitigate its onset.
Family dentists are aware of the challenges associated with making time for each member of the family to be seen regularly at the dentist. Taking time off work, missing lecture time at school and doing it repeatedly for each member of the family can be tiresome and can encourage family members to forego dental visits until they have a dental concern to address urgently. While family dentists are happy to help when problems arise, it is much preferred that we see the patients on a regular schedule in order to approach dental health proactively. That’s why your family doctor offers an extended schedule, including evenings and group appointments. Group appointments mean that each member is seen one after the next, on the same day. This does extend the length of the visit, but it means that parents do not have to arrange their schedules two, three or four times in order to ensure that each household member is seen.
The clinical environment can be off-putting for patients young and old, but patients with spectrum disorders or sensory processing needs may find the environment particularly difficult. Luckily, family dentists are equipped with tools and techniques to help ease even highly anxious patients into a calm state. This is achieved by taking our time, giving patients a tour around the office and discussing their needs with their caregivers. Wherever possible, we take steps to minimize noise and stimulus such as bright lights. Patients who feel more comfortable with their favourite blanket, teddy or podcast are encouraged to bring these items along to assist them in feeling calm during their procedure.
Your family doctor learns their patient’s comfort preferences over time, and parents or guardians may receive education in return about how they can assist their children in preparing for the dentist. In the case of sensory concerns, your dentist may advise caregivers to brush their child’s gums prior to coming to the dentist to stimulate the nerves and leave them less sensitive to the dentist’s tools.
We know that for some families, dental visits can cause the whole family’s stress level to rise. We want to mitigate this as much as possible. There are some patients who require more than reassurance to allow them to be still in the dental chair, and we understand! That’s why we offer sedation options. Dental sedation such as nitrous oxide or oral benzodiazepines are safe and effective ways of helping a patient stay calm during a procedure. Patients with high levels of anxiety often develop headaches and muscle aches when the body is tensed in fight-or-flight response. Sedation offers these patients the ability to remain conscious throughout the procedure without residual stress-induced muscle discomfort.
Sedation has been used successfully for decades and can be safely administered to both children and adults, provided that there are no medical contraindications.
All of this aside, the best way to mitigate procedures at the dentist is to see your dentist regularly for preventative maintenance. By seeing your dentist more regularly concerns can be addressed sooner, rapport with your family dentist can be developed under stress-free circumstances, and children come to see the dentist as ‘that really fun place where I get high-fives for keeping my teeth clean!’. The sooner your family dentist can start seeing your family, the more likely that your children will look forward to the dentist!
Your family dentist can also be a valued source of information for parents about how to care for their children’s oral health needs, including the role of nutrition and jawbone health in maintaining oral wellness. If you have questions about how to care for your child’s oral health, your dentist (and/or your dental hygienist) is happy to partner with you to address your child’s needs. Healthy habits at home are critical to the overall systemic health of your family, and we want to support you in keeping your smile healthy and strong.
Looking for a Family Dentist in Edmonton? We are accepting new patients and we would love to be your family dental practice of choice! Call our clinic to book your family’s first appointment.