General vs. Family Dentist: What Is Best for Me?

by | Mar 13, 2020 | General Dentistry

People will often switch dentists many times in their lives. You may need a new dentist because you moved to a new area, or your current dentist is closing or retiring. Whatever the reason, maybe it is essential to have a dental office you can go to for preventative care and other services.

When looking for a dentist, you will need to decide whether you need a general or family dentist. Is there a difference? If so, what can you expect from each, and which will work best for you? In this article, we’ll go over what a general and family dentist is, what services they offer, and finally, how to decide the best one to meet your long-term dental goals.

Female dentist with a family in the background.

What is a general dentist?

A general dentist will receive training in many areas of dentistry. They will learn the basics of preventative care, as well as the more in-depth procedures pertaining to the health of their patient’s smiles. General dentists will have completed eight years of schooling, including their undergraduate and 4 years of dentistry school.

General dentists will offer an array of services to their patients. Some of these will include:

What you will notice with your general dentist is that there aren’t any smaller kids in the office, ever. A general dentist will limit their practice to only work on teens and adults, usually 16 and up. Working with children requires more training and a different skill set.

As an adult, a general dentist may work great for you, but for those that are looking for someone offering pediatric services, a general dentist won’t.

What is a family dentist?

A family dentist, as you probably gathered, has services available for the whole family. This includes working with children and people of all ages. Your family dentist will have gone through all the same training as a general dentist, four years of undergraduate, and a 4-year dental program.

A family dentist is probably one of the more inclusive dental offices you can visit. They offer all the same services as a general dentist but will provide assistance to children as well as provide education to their patients.

What is best for you?

For adults, you can choose to go to either a family dentist or a general. Either of these will provide the services you likely will need, including preventive, restorative, and general procedures. However, every dentist is different in what they will provide. One might offer cosmetic treatments, while others do not. If you think you might be interested in those types of services, contact the dental office you are interested in and check if they offer those.

For adults with kids, choosing a family dentist is almost always the best choice. You won’t have to worry that you’ll need to visit someone else unless it’s for orthodontics, and everyone can get their routine visits at one time. Because you can schedule as a family, most people enjoy setting one date for everyone to get cleanings and dental services, saving time while getting it out of the way.

If you currently don’t have kids but are thinking you will see them in the future, you may want to consider choosing a family dentist anyway. Building a relationship with your dentist is excellent for maintaining quality oral healthcare. Your dentist will have all your records, know you as a patient, and help make choices about your dental care.

Stephen Nozaki

Stephen Nozaki

Dr. Stephen Nozaki is the owner and lead dentist at Image Dental in Stockton, CA. He has received his training at California State University and Loma Linda University, then completed his fellowship with the International Dental Implant Association. Today, Dr. Nozaki specializes in same-day crowns and dental implants. He is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), San Joaquin Dental Society (SJDS), as well as a diplomate with the International Dental Implant Association, which allows him to always stay current with the most current information and training on these procedures.

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