Family Dentistry |4 min read

The Difference Between a General and Family Dentist

A little girl holding a smile model for family dentistry education

Most of us have a go-to primary care provider – someone we see for wellness exams and to help us when we’re sick.

But which doctor takes care of your teeth?

The obvious answer is a dentist.

But the not-so-simple question is, what type of dentist do you need?

There are many types of dentists, including cosmetic, restorative, comprehensive, general, and family – and that’s not even including specialty dentists, like periodontists.

So, the short answer to that question is this:

Everyone needs a family or general dentist.

What’s the difference between them? And how do you know which one you need?

We’ve got the answer right below!

Family dentist vs. general dentist

A general dentist has completed undergraduate and dental school. They can offer general, preventative, and comprehensive dental care.

The same can be said for a family dentist. However, here’s the main difference:

A family dentist focuses on providing dental care through all stages of life. Meaning, this type of dentist can treat your whole family, from children to the elderly.

A general dentist may limit their services to a particular age group, like patients over 16 years old.

If you have a child or plan to in the future, we recommend choosing a family dentist as your primary dental provider. We’ll get into the benefits of this decision soon.

What do family dentists do?

Family dentists offer, you guessed it, family dentistry.

What is family dentistry?

Family dentistry is preventative and comprehensive oral care for all ages. This includes:

  • Exams: Regular six-month checkups are essential for catching problems before they become big, expensive, and damaging ones. They also allow dentists to monitor the development of your child’s teeth and jaw.
  • Cleanings: Professional hygiene cleanings are necessary to remove built-up plaque and tartar, which brushing and flossing alone cannot conquer. This is significantly proven to prevent decay and gum disease.
  • Fluoride: This treatment remineralizes your teeth’s enamel to protect them from decay.
  • Sealants: This preventative treatment fills the pits and fissures in your teeth to stop food and debris from getting stuck and turning into decay.
  • Fillings: To prevent a cavity from worsening, you may need a filling, which will preserve the healthy structure of your tooth.

However, a family dentist is not limited to these preventative measures. They may also practice other areas of dentistry, such as cosmetic and restorative dentistry, offering you more services under one roof.

6 benefits of a family dentist

Here are the top reasons why we recommend having a family dentist:

1. Kid-friendly

Family dentists understand children have different needs than adults, and their dental care should reflect that.

From sealants and fluoride to positive affirmations and kid-friendly dental language, a family dentist caters to your child’s every need.

By providing your child with a positive dental experience early on, you help them establish a healthy, long-lasting relationship with the dentist and their oral health.

2. Prevention and education

Family dentists are known for taking a preventative approach to dental care. They’ll provide you with the education and treatments necessary to prevent or stop dental problems.

This will surely save you money in the short and long run!

3. Dental care for the whole family

You don’t need multiple dentists for all your family members with a family dentist.

Typically, they can cover all your treatments under one roof – even as your and your child’s dental care needs change over time.

4. Convenience

With coordinated planning, you could save yourself a lot of time by scheduling your family’s dental appointments altogether or back to back.

Many family dentists also offer before and after school dental appointments.

5. Same financial option for everyone

Having one dentist will make managing your dental insurance and financing straightforward.

6. Set a good example

Show your child how important oral health is by maintaining good hygiene at-home and with regular dental visits.

The familiarity of having the same dentist for all of your dental care will also build trust and reduce fear.

Looking for a family dentist in Tacoma, WA?

Visit Giesy Family & Implant Dentistry!

Dr. Michael Giesy offers cosmetic, restorative, implant, TMJ, sleep apnea, and family dentistry – covering all of your family’s dental needs at every stage of life.

To see if we’re the right fit for you, contact us to schedule a consultation.

Request An Appointment

Our dental office is located in Tacoma, WA. It serves families from all over the Pacific Northwest, including Ruston, Spanaway, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, University Place, Fircrest, Olympia, Puyallup, Federal Way, Fife, and Port Orchard.

2 comments on “The Difference Between a General and Family Dentist”
  1. I like how you mentioned that family dentists can treat the entire family regardless if it’s an adult or a child and even if their needs change over time. This helps because my family has a large gap between some of the children, with one of them already approaching their teenage years while one of them still in the toddler age. Couple that with my wife me, and we have a wide range of potential dental issues. If a family dentist can keep track of all of this, then I’ll definitely look around for one so we can go to them regularly.

    1. Thank you for reading. I’m happy to hear this blog gave you guidance on how a family dentist can benefit you for years to come.

      If you ever need a family dentist in Tacoma, we’re here for you!

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