The focus of family dentistry is to help the patient maintain excellent oral hygiene and prevent serious dental issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease. In a typical preventive services dental appointment, the patient’s teeth are cleaned with specialty dental equipment, plaque and tartar build-up are removed by scraping and the patient receives fluoride supplements if they are needed. The American Dental Association recommends that all children and adults visit the dentist at least twice per year to help them maintain optimal oral health.
If cavities are detected during a routine dental appointment, the patient will be asked to schedule another appointment where a family dentist will create a filling for the tooth. This prevents the tooth from falling victim to tooth decay.
How to Maintain Oral Health Between Visits
Since the average person only sees a dentist bi-annually or less, it is up to him or her to take proper care of the teeth and gums in the meantime. This includes brushing both the top and bottom teeth for at least two minutes twice a day and using dental floss at least once per day. Rinsing with mouthwash after brushing can help to further reduce the likelihood of developing cavities since it helps to kill bacteria in the mouth and on the tongue.
Specialty Dental Care
If a patient’s regular dentist notices a problem with his or her teeth, jaw or gums during an appointment, the dentist will likely refer the patient to a dental specialist for further treatment. Some common dental specialists are orthodontists and cosmetic dentists. Orthodontists deal with diagnosing improper alignment of the teeth and in correcting them through the use of dental braces or another method.
Cosmetic dentists handle many different types of procedures, including teeth whitening, installing dentures and crowns and repairing loose fillings. Most of the work performed by cosmetic dentists is done on patients who are voluntarily choosing to have the procedure done in order to improve their appearance.