We welcome patients of all ages here at Fulbright Cosmetic & Reconstructive Dentistry. Our dentist, Dr. Michael Fulbright, along with our team of hygienists and assistants want to make sure your child obtains effective treatment as well as the most comfortable experience possible. We understand that little ones (and even many adults!) often have genuine fears and anxieties about going to the dentist, which is why our team focuses on providing all of our younger patients with gentle, compassionate care and making their visit both educational and fun.
Pediatric dental care options include an array of preventive treatments that can help your child reduce the likelihood of developing cavities and other issues that may cause major problems later. We also offer advanced treatments for common dental concerns that are already present. In addition, education is a big part of our family dental care approach, with a strong focus on helping children to develop excellent brushing and flossing habits so they can maintain good oral health from childhood to adulthood.
“The staff at Fulbright Dental were very patient and kind. They gained my children’s trust and educated them on maintaining good oral hygiene. I was very nervous coming, but I was reassured the whole way through. I greatly appreciate the time and effort the entire staff took for myself and my family.”
What Is a Family Dentist?
A “family dentist” is the term typically used to describe a dentist who provides a selection of dental care options that can be effective for individuals of virtually all ages. These options often include a full range of procedures designed for routine and preventive care, periodontal care, and many other general and restorative dentistry treatments. While a “general dentist” and a “family dentist” have many similarities, a family dentist is typically one who focuses on dental education and treatments for the whole family, with a focus on providing patients at each stage of life the information they’ll need to maintain good oral health habits and consistently healthy teeth and gums.
Family Dental Care Treatment Options
For all of our patients, particularly children and adolescents, regular oral check-ups and cleanings can go a long way toward identifying and addressing any potential problems as early as possible. We offer a full range of preventive and general dental care options designed to enhance the health of your child’s teeth and gums. Options include:
You may remember regular fluoride rinses from your time in elementary school. This treatment is no less important for children today, as it can serve as an effective way to reduce the risk of cavities. Fluoride is a topical treatment that can make the teeth stronger and less prone to decay. We’ll be happy to talk with you about whether your child can benefit from this treatment.
One of the most commonly performed treatments for children, dental sealants can be great ways to protect vulnerable teeth from cavities and decay. Typically most useful for the back teeth, sealants are composed of a strong plastic material placed on the tooth’s surface. The sealant can reduce the risk of bacteria invading small crevices and leading to cavities later. Dental sealants can ultimately work to prevent the need for fillings in the future.
With tooth-colored fillings, there is no longer a need to be concerned about the potential risks of mercury or the effect that unsightly “metal” fillings can have on your child’s smile. Tooth-colored fillings are made of a durable composite resin that can blend in with the natural color of the tooth. These fillings are completely free of mercury and are known to be stronger than the amalgam fillings that were standard treatments for cavities in the past.
Periodontal (Gum) Treatments
While gum disease is most common in adults, it can also occur in children. Poor oral hygiene in childhood can also increase the chance of developing gum disease later, so it’s important to keep the gums and teeth as healthy as possible at all times. Our practice offers a variety of treatments that can help children maintain healthy gums and quickly address any potential problems.
A CariFree® test is a simple, pain-free procedure that typically takes only about one minute to perform. The test involves swabbing a sample of plaque from the teeth to measure levels of bacteria. The results will appear on a handheld meter, allowing our dental team to determine whether your child is at risk for cavities. The test can also be useful for monitoring your child’s progress as they follow treatment regimens designed to help reduce risks of decay. In addition to the CariFree® test, our office also carries a line of advanced CariFree® home care products that can help children maintain healthy teeth and gums.
HealthyStart™ is a system of a removable oral devices to be worn while sleeping. This treatment may be a good solution for children who have symptoms of disordered breathing, or as a way to provide early orthodontic and orthopedic intervention. This innovative series of oral appliances can help create a larger airway for better breathing, improve the development of the lower jaw, expand the dental arches to create room for new teeth, produce improved oral habits, and more. The HealthyStart™ system utilizes devices made of soft, clear plastic that are custom-designed for the best possible comfort and to provide patients with gentle correction throughout the night. There are three phases of treatment—as your child achieves each set of treatment goals, they will continue to the next phase with an upgraded device until the final stage of treatment is complete. The HealthyStart™ system may be an effective option for children who suffer from pediatric sleep apnea, as well as a suitable method of creating more ideal alignment to give the teeth the room they need to grow.
Our team will work with you to determine how to help your child maintain the best possible oral health and a beautiful smile for many years to come.
How to Choose the Best Family Dentist
There are several important things to look for as you decide upon the best family dentist for your needs. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the prospective dentist’s training and experience, it’s also good to obtain a general idea about the dentist’s demeanor and overall friendliness. A kind and calming approach is particularly necessary for children.
The following tips can help you in your search:
- Explore the dentist’s website for information on his or her background. The dentist should have the proper licensure to practice, and they should be well-trained and experienced in the treatments you are considering.
- Find out if the office is a child-friendly environment and offers amenities that can make the visit more pleasant and fun. Also, ask if the dentist and the dental team has an adequate amount of experience treating children.
- Take a look at before-and-after photos and any available reviews of the dentist.
- Determine whether the majority of treatments that may be necessary are performed in-office and which ones may require a referral to another practice.
- Schedule a consultation with the prospective dentist once you have narrowed down your choices. This meeting will help you evaluate the dentist’s personal approach, abilities, style, and overall rapport, which can help you determine your level of confidence and comfort in their care.
In many cases, the dentist’s website can provide a fairly thorough resource that gives you a general idea of what you can expect. From there, an in-person meeting can help you make your final selection. Remember: you should always feel that your family dentist is communicative and attentive to your concerns, as well as those of your family!
When Should I Schedule My Child’s First Dental Appointment?
It’s typically best to schedule your child’s first dental appointment by the time they have turned 1 year of age and no later than that. If the child’s first tooth has erupted before then, a dental visit should be scheduled within six months. During this first appointment, we will conduct a full oral evaluation and talk with you about the next steps. Our team is committed to providing the most comfortable and pleasant experience possible for your child’s first visit to the dentist!
FulCare Dental Plan
Dr. Fulbright believes that every individual deserves high-quality dental care, regardless of their financial situation. If you do not have dental insurance, or if you are simply looking for an alternative payment method for treatment, Fulbright Cosmetic & Reconstructive Dentistry offers the FulCare Dental Plan. This unique program is a tiered payment system that encompasses a variety of procedures and offers significant discounts on office visits and treatments.
If you would like more information on our pediatric dental care and family dentistry options, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.