While family dentistry and general dentistry are basically similar, there are certain differences that could influence choosing one over the other. As the name implies, a family dentist in St. Louis caters to patients in just about every age group from young children to seniors. On the other hand, a general dentist may place restrictions on the ages of the patients they care for. For instance, a pedodontist caters to younger children and provides the oral care and treatment they need.
Both family and general dentists specialize in the maintenance of dental hygiene and overall gum and tooth health. However, family dentists ensure that any plaque that has accumulated on the teeth is removed and kept to a minimum. They also ensure that any cavities will be filled properly and that your gums are kept in good condition. For all intents and purposes, they are seen as the first level of protection against any oral abnormalities or problems.
Most individuals aren’t affected by the differences between a general dentist and a family dentist practice unless they require special services. The most common differences between these two types of dentists include:
Family dentistry focuses on a broad range of patients (see above) and helps them maintain their dental and overall oral health. They perform more common procedures such as filling cavities after they have removed any and all decay from teeth and remove plaque build-up. Plus, many family dentists offer fluoride treatments as well.
Family dentists detect the presence of cavities by taking radiographs of ones teeth. In some family dentist practices, these professionals perform other procedures such as bridges and crowns, dental implants, and root canals. They offer a range of services for children including dental seals so that the teeth are protected from cavities.
General dentists also focus on overall dental health. However, they also examine your teeth and perform other procedures such as cleaning, scaling, and X-raying teeth. They will also develop preventive care and treatment plans in order to prevent problems such as tooth decay and other diseases of the mouth. Basically, general dentists focus on restorative procedures.
Both types of dentists must undergo training prior to starting their own practice. Once a family dentist has his or her undergraduate degree, they are required to pass the DAT or Dental Admissions Test. After passing the test, they will enroll in a dental school program that may take 3 to 5 years to complete. This curriculum is just as intensive as that of medical school. In order to go into practice, they are required to pass the NBDE or National Board Dental Exam.
As you can see, there are some key differences between a general and a family dentist in St. Louis even though they’re subtle at best. However, it’s important to understand these differences, especially when you are selecting a dentist.