Office News |3 min read

#1 Reason Why Choosing a Family Dentist vs. a General Dentist Matters

Patient asking questions about family dentistry with team member.

When looking for a dentist, you’ll often see the terms “family dentist” and “general dentist.”

It’s easy to confuse them as the same thing, but they’re not.

What’s the difference between a family dentist vs. a general dentist?

The #1 difference:

Patient age.

A family dentist treats patients of all ages.

A general dentist has patient age requirements, typically 16-18 and older.

Which is better?

The answer depends on your current and future needs.

Family dentist definition

A family dentist provides dentistry for all phases of life. They treat children, teenagers, adults, and seniors.

They understand changes from infancy to late adulthood and are trained in caring for primary (baby) and permanent teeth.

Family dentists focus heavily on dental prevention and education. This includes teaching proper brushing techniques, providing education on the link between bleeding gum and health, and providing routine dental care to prevent problems.

Family dentistry services include:

  • Comprehensive Exams
  • Oral Hygiene Cleanings
  • Periodontal Therapy
  • Oral Cancer Screening
  • Sealants
  • Root Canals
  • Nightguards & Mouthguards
  • Fillings
  • Sealants

Some family dentists also offer cosmetic and restorative services like veneers, teeth whitening, dental implants, extractions, etc.

General dentist definition

A general dentist is focused on keeping your smile healthy.

Typically, they offer the same services as a family dentist, but they only see patients within a particular age group (like 16 or older).

Quiz: Do you need a family dentist or a general dentist?

Ask yourself these questions:

Q: Do you have children?

If the answer is yes, choose a family dentist.

You’ll have one dentist for your entire family, for life.

This means:

  • Convenient appointments (sometimes even all at once)
  • No driving to different dental practices
  • Fewer headaches with payments, insurance, forms, etc.
  • One point of contact
  • Your children will grow up with the familiarity, comfort, and trust of one dentist and team
  • Family dentists know how to make dentistry fun for kids (prize incentives included!)

Prizes for kids when they visit our family dentist in East Texas

Q: Are children in your future?

If you plan on having a child, consider switching to a family dentist now.

Then you’ll be prepared when your family grows and save yourself one less thing to do later.

Q: Does the dentist offer the services you need?

You want to make sure you find a dentist who offers the services you currently need and may want in the future.

Doing so will help you avoid referrals or having to find a new dentist later.

That may mean choosing a family dentist even if you don’t have or want children.

Q: What qualifications does the dentist have?

Family and general dentistry aren’t specialized dental fields. That means family and general dentists don’t need specialized training beyond dental school.

So, here are the top things that differentiate well-qualified dentists from others:

  • Years of experience
  • Continuing education and training
  • Active memberships in dental organizations
  • Awards

For family dentists, you’ll want to find someone who caters to children. That could include speaking their language, using non-scary words, explaining each step, offering rewards, etc.

Need a family dentist in East Texas?

Contact Allen Family Dentistry.

We have a team of family dentists to care for all your loved ones’ dental needs.

We also make dentistry convenient with:

Book an appointment to see if we’re the right fit.

Call your nearest Allen Family Dentistry:

Our four dental practices serve countless communities throughout East Texas, including Athens… Opens new tab to Athens location on Google…, Malakoff… This Opens new tab to Malakoff location on Google…, Cedar Creek Lake, Henderson County, Bullard… Opens new tab to Bullard location on Google…, Smith County, South Tyler, Cherokee County, Palestine… Opens new tab to Palestine location on Google…, and Anderson County.

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