If you’re in the market for a new dentist, you have no doubt seen some who advertise themselves as a “family dentist.” If you think that term is just a marketing ploy, you should know that there actually is a difference between a family dentist and other professionals who use the term “general dentistry” to describe their practices.
Dental professionals who use the term “general dentistry” to describe their practices have gone through extensive schooling and training. In fact, typically general dentists go through 4 years of dental school after they receive their undergraduate degrees.
Most general dentists offer their patients a wide variety of services, including periodic oral exams and dental cleanings, fillings, crowns, dental bridges, partial and complete sets of dentures, root canals, and tooth extractions. In addition, many general dentists offer orthodontic services such as traditional braces or clear plastic aligners, and cosmetic services such as porcelain veneers and dental bonding.
While there’s no doubt that a general dentist can provide virtually every oral health procedure you could need or want, some of these dental professionals prefer to only work on a certain age group of patients. This marks the primary difference between a general dentist and a family dentist.
Although a “family dentist” most likely went through similar education and training to a general dentist – and, in all likelihood will provide the same set of services – a family dentist typically treats patients of all age groups. Just as the name implies, a family dentist is more than happy to care for every member of your family, from the youngest to the most elderly.
If you have a family comprised of different age groups, a family dentist is often the best person to provide oral health care for your family. It’s important to remember that our oral health needs change from one age to the next. Children are typically more cavity-prone than other age groups; adults often struggle to keep their gums healthy; while older family members may experience bone loss and receding gums as they age. A family dentist is equipped to provide appropriate treatment for all age groups. And that makes family dental practices a much more convenient choice for most families.
If you have a family full of people at all stages of life, look for a “family dentist.” If you’re unsure, call the dental office and ask them if they provide services for all ages of patients.