There are all kinds of reasons for choosing a new dentist. You might have changed residences and are looking for a dentist closer to where you live. On the other hand, your dental needs may have changed, and your current dentist may not provide all of the services that your family now requires. Or maybe your old dentist has retired or moved away. Whatever the reason, you should think about whether you need a general dentist or a family dentist prior to making your decision.
While you may not think there is any difference, there is an important distinction between the two. To make things a bit clearer, we discussed each type of dentistry in a couple of the paragraphs below.
What Is a General Dentist?
General dentists must undergo a pretty thorough education before they can practice. Normally, they need at least three years of undergraduate education prior to completing four years of dental school to qualify as a general dentist. Like all dentists, their objective is to help their patients maintain strong oral hygiene and a healthy smile. As general dentists, they don’t have a specialized field of dentistry.
Nevertheless, general dentists my limit their practice to a specific age group. For instance, they may not take patients under the age of 16. For parents of children younger than their mid-teens, this would mean finding a different dentist for their children.
What is a Family Dentist?
Like general dentists, family dentists also undergo extensive training. They also need both an undergraduate degree and a degree from a dental school before starting to see patients. Although they offer the same basic services as general dentists, the essential difference between the two is that a family dentist offers dental procedures for people of all ages. The types of treatments they offer include cleanings, dental checkups, exams, fillings, x-rays, fluoride treatments, sealants, and more. In other words, everyone in the family can see a family dentist at one location instead of going to different offices for different ages.
Because family dentists see patients of all ages, they emphasize proper oral hygiene practices for every life stage. Whether they are trying to get a youngster to learn proper brushing technique or need to demonstrate the right way to clean dentures to an older patient, family dentists dedicate themselves to maintaining good oral healthcare for all family members.
Advantages of a Family Dentist
Having your own family dentist does come with some advantages. We’ve listed a few of them below.
They Know Your Family Dental History
One of the big advantages of bringing your family to the same dentist over the years is that they will know your whole family’s dental history. Indeed, they will have records of everyone’s dental diseases, surgeries, cavities, and sensitivities. And they will be able to customize each person’s treatment accordingly. This can be really helpful as your dentist can take action if he observes any new developments since your last checkup. In addition, a family dentist can be on the lookout for any genetic issues that may affect your children, such as the need for orthodontics.
Since family dentists care for all ages, they are helpful for dealing with young children in their developmental stages. For example, he or she can instruct them regarding preventative practices that will keep their teeth healthy in the future.
If a child’s teeth need alignment, a family dentist can recommend it at the optimum time instead of waiting until adulthood. Your family dentist will also help you maintain a regular schedule for dental checkups. He can remind everyone of the importance of keeping up with brushing, flossing, and rinsing to help your family avoid gum disease, cavities, and other serious dental problems that might crop up otherwise.
Emergency Dental Treatment
When the unexpected occurs and someone in your family needs dental care right away, it makes a difference to have a dentist on call whom you can trust. Instead of searching for whoever is available, you’ll have the peace of mind of getting an appointment with a familiar face.
Your child may knock out or chip a tooth or develop an abscess that simply cannot wait for treatment. Having a longtime, trusted family dentist means you can get ahold of them at any time, no matter how inconvenient, and receive quality care.
In addition to the advantages we mentioned above, having a family dentist means you will have access to the latest information about dental technology and practices. In essence, your dentist becomes a one-stop shopping center for all of your family’s oral healthcare needs.