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How does Family Dentistry differ from General Dentistry?

October 1, 2020
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If you’re looking for a new dentist for you and your family, it can be easy to get confused by terms like ‘general dentist’ and ‘family dentist’. What’s the difference? Which should you choose?

What Is A General Dentist?

A general dentist will have been through extensive education before beginning to practice. Typically, dentists go through four years of undergraduate education before going on to four years of dental school, before graduating and becoming a general dentist. 

A general dentist has one main job: to help you to maintain a healthy smile. This is, of course, the objective of all dentists, but general dentists might choose to restrict their patients to a specific age group. For example, if your dentist will only see patients over 16, and you have children, then you will have to find a different dentist to treat them, which is inconvenient. 

Before you choose a dentist to see, you should check that they offer the dental services that you need and are looking for. As well as routine cleanings, many general dentists will also offer other dental care and procedures, such as:

  • Invisalign
  • Root canals
  • Tooth extraction
  • Crowns
  • Veneers
  • Dentures
  • Bonding

If you need a more specialized dental procedure, then a general dentist might work with other dentists in order to help you to take care of all the dental needs you have. 

How Does A Family Dentist Compare?

A family dentist is also extensively trained, the same as a general dentist. They will have to receive their undergraduate degree and then attend dental school before they will be able to start seeing any patients. The main difference between a general and a family dentist will specialize in dental care for all ages. Instead of having to see multiple dentists, you can take the whole family to one dentist, in one location, to take care of all their dental needs. Family dentists also have a focus on educating parents of all ages on the best practices for cleaning teeth. They can do everything from teaching a toddler the proper brushing technique to showing an elderly patient how to properly clean their dentures. A family dentist can ensure that you and your family members have good dental care habits outside of their office.

The right dentist is the one who can offer you the care that you need. A general dentist may see patients of all ages, if you have children, it’s wise to check first. It’s much more convenient to have one dentist for the whole family, so check-ups can be completed all in one place, on the same day. If you have children, a family dentist is usually the better choice, as they will have more experience in looking after the growing teeth of children. If you are child-free and prefer a dentist with more focus on adult care, then a general dentist might be the better choice. 

Check our Timberline Family Dentistry website or call the office to enquire about the services we offer to make the best choice for you and your family.