Dental practices can be labeled as many things. What is a general dentist, it doesn’t sound very technical? Can a family dentist do all the things a regular dentist would do? Is there even a difference? Often this is confusing for the potential patient. While they want to make sure they find the right dentist, there is undoubtedly more than one factor at play. So how can you choose the right dental office for you? It starts by knowing the difference between the two main types.
General and Family Dentistry
When you see on a website general or family, you might wonder if these are interchangeable. However, a general and family dentist is quite different. The primary thing they have in common is schooling. Both a general and family dentist must obtain their undergraduate and go through the required four years of dental school. After getting their license, they are free to practice.
Who They Offer Services To
Probably the most significant difference between a family dentist and general is who they serve. A family dentist, as you might have gathered, works with the family. This will include people of all ages, including children. General dentists limit their practice to those ages 18 and up. It may be a preference for the doctor or what they prefer doing, but this is usually the largest determining factor when selecting a dentist.
For those that currently have children, it might make more sense for everyone to see the same dentist. If you feel this way, a family dental office will be the best choice. Family planning and dentistry don’t always go hand in hand. Many adults will take their children to a family dental office, while they see someone in a general dentist somewhere else. Much of this is up to preference. But if you like having the convenience of planning everyone’s trip at the same time, or one dentist knowing everything about your medical or dental history, then a family practitioner would be a good fit.
What many people wonder is will they give up certain services when choosing a general or family practitioner. The good news here is, in most cases, both types will offer the same services. You won’t miss out on having root canals or even cosmetic procedures. You can expect that each office will offer
-Preventative Dentistry- Cleanings, x-rays, and exams
-Restoration Dentistry- Dentures, bridges
-General Dentistry- root canals, fillings, extractions
A Focus On Education
Another difference you might not know to exist is that your family dentist will want to educate their patients, especially the kids. They will take the time to answer questions about your child’s oral health, explain the importance of brushing, and much more. You may notice that a family dentist works well with children, and makes sure they have the best experience when visiting their office. Education is just as important as the services children have to keep their teeth and gums healthy for life.
How do you find the right dentist for you? It may come down to whether or not you have children, or plan to. A family dentist is great for educating both kids and adults on how to take care of teeth. While a general dentist will undoubtedly answer your questions, they are more focused on adults and keeping their teeth and gums in excellent condition. Some general dentists may offer more extensive cosmetic procedures than a family practitioner, but most of the services are pretty equal.