While the terms family dentist and general dentist may be casually interchanged, it’s crucial to recognize their distinct roles. A family dentist operates with a unique style, unlike a general dentist. To make an informed decision about your dental care, it’s essential to understand the services and roles each provides, empowering you in your choice.

What Does A Family Dentist Do That  A General Dentist Won’t Do?

A family dentist is not a specialist but a general dentist who treats patients of all age groups, from toddlers to geriatric patients. This contrasts with a general dentist, who typically focuses on patients aged 16 and above. Both will perform all dental procedures, such as root canals, dental crowns, scaling, and cavity filling, but have different working patterns and concerns. By understanding this distinction, you can feel confident about the family dentist’s role. 

  • Comprehensive Care For All Ages – The family dentist is an expert in caring for patients aged from 6 months to old. They often have a welcoming environment for children and have trained themselves with child-friendly communication techniques that make children comfortable. They also take care of elderly patients with utter care. A general dentist typically focuses on the adult population and refers the pediatric patient to other specialists.
  • Expert In Dentistry Related To Young Children – The family dentist will have the tools and techniques to handle infant dental care. They may guide the kids and parents about teeth care, early cavity prevention, and habit-breaking, such as thumb sucking and pacifier use. They will closely monitor the growing jaws of the kids and take up the interceptive and preventive treatment in early childhood to prevent invasive treatment ahead in early adulthood stages. On the other hand, the general dentist may offer a different level of specialized child care and might refer patients below 16 to a specialist.
  • Convenience And Care For Whole Family – The family dentist is one-stop care for the whole family at one location. This might be convenient as it simplifies the schedules and reduces the need for multiple visits. The family dentist often builds long-term relationships with families and provides consistent care over the years. They may provide flexible scheduling to accommodate the busy lives of families, including after-school and office and weekend appointments. General dentists focus on the individual care for adults, which might not be convenient for families who want all members treated by the same dentist. Further, they may have standard office hours, which might be difficult for families to accommodate.
  • Prevention and Awareness – A family dentist emphasizes prevention and education about dental care. They may regularly educate patients about oral and dental hygiene starting in childhood and often run educational and dental awareness drives for children and families.

Hence, when choosing between the two, consider the above points and decide. If you have a family and need hassle-free and flexible services and don’t want to roam around from one dental office to another for different family members, opting for a family dentist won’t be a bad idea. At the same time, if you live alone, a general dentist will also cater to all your needs. 


Family dentists train and mold themselves to provide comprehensive /continuous, and convenient dental care to entire families, starting right from the youngest age to the oldest member of the family. They have child-friendly, geriatric-friendly, and an adult-suited environment to focus on preventive and educative dentistry. They offer convenience in scheduling appointments . While general dentists are excellent at providing dental care, family dentists have the extra benefit of treating patients across all life stages, making them an ideal choice for families seeking a step solution for all their dental needs.