Discover which type of dental practice can best serve you and your family.

Are you searching for a new dental practice but you’re not sure whether you need a general dentist or a family dentist?

Here’s what you need to know about family dentists and general dentists as well as how to choose between the two types of practices.

The differences between family dentists and general dentists.

General dentistry makes up the majority of dental practices in the United States.

General dentists provide a wide range of dental care services, but they primarily focus on preventive care and restorative dentistry for adult patients. Many general dentists also pursue further education in other fields, such as oral surgery, root canal therapy, cosmetic dentistry, and sometimes even orthodontics (such as Invisalign).

Family dentists are very much the same as general dentists. They provide the same types of services, have the same extensive education and training, and focus mostly on helping patients get a healthy smile. The difference? The age of the patients they accept.

The only difference between a family dental practice and a general dental practice is a family dentist works on patients of all ages. You could say that a family dentist is a general dentist, but a general dentist isn’t necessarily a family dentist.

Family dental practices are more welcoming to younger patients, and their dental teams often have more training or experience in working with children. Family dentists also have more knowledge of general pediatric dental care than a general dentist.

How to decide if a family or general dentist is the right choice.

The main determining factor between choosing a family or a general dentist is the age range and needs of your family.

Here are a few factors to consider:

  • How old is the youngest member of your family? General dental practices may have minimum age limits for patients, sometimes as old as 16.
  • How do your kids feel about the dentist? Dental anxiety in kids can affect how they act at the dentist. A confident 12 year old may feel secure at a general dental practice, but a nervous 16 year old may feel much more comfortable with a family dentist.
  • Do you plan on having another child? If another baby may be in your family’s future, developing a relationship with a family dentist now is a wonderful idea.
  • Are there grandkids in your near future? As a grandparent helping with future babysitting or daycare needs, you can take your grandkids to a family dentist. Invite your adult children to see the same family practice you do.

If you’re still having trouble deciding between a family or a general dentist, the best thing is to speak with the dental practices that catch your interest. Describe your situation and ask if they offer the care your family needs.

What about family dentists and pediatric dentists?

If you have younger kids in your family, you may be wondering about the differences between a family dentist and a pediatric dentist or whether or not your kids need a pediatric dentist.

The main difference between a family dentist and pediatric dentist is a pediatric dentist only sees children.

Most pediatric dentists allow any patient under the age of 18, though most teens typically want to start going to a more “grown-up” dental office before then. Pediatric dental practices don’t offer services to adults, which means you’ll still need to find a general or family dentist for older family members.

Pediatric dentists are a great option for kids who require special dental care or for very young patients (i.e. babies or toddlers), but most kids will do great with a family dentist as their primary dental care provider.

In some cases, our Santa Fe Family Dental dentists will refer a young patient to a nearby pediatric dentist if there is a problem that requires the specific skills of a dedicated pediatric specialist.

Santa Fe Family Dental offers caring, compassionate dental care for Gainesville families.

Families living in and around Gainesville, Florida, need to look no further than Santa Fe Family Dental for comprehensive, welcoming dental care. For families large and small, from kids to grandparents, our dental team provides a complete menu of services for all ages.

Our patient services include preventive care, restorative treatment, cosmetic dentistry, periodontal therapy, and oral surgery. We also offer help for patients with sleep apnea, TMD, and bruxism. Our team follows comfortable care practices and offers Dental Vibe painless injections in an effort to make appointments as stress-free as possible, whether you have dental anxiety or not.

If you’re searching for a new family dentist, we encourage you to schedule an appointment to come meet us. Our dentists and the rest of our staff can’t wait to get to know you and your family.