Who Qualifies as a Family Dentist

Updated on July 20, 2020

If you have a family, then you understand the family-friendly lifestyle. Family restaurants, kid-friendly parties, outdoor pool parties, etc. But dentistry is a little different. You want to go to a “one-stop-shop” for all of your family’s dental issues, but it’s important that you find a family dentist that you can trust. 

Minimum Qualifications for a Dentist

We’ve come a long way since barbers doubled as dentists. Becoming a dentist takes years of education and training. In fairness, it also takes longer to become a barber than it once did. Dentists frequently get a four-year undergraduate degree before beginning a four-year dental program. They usually earn their bachelor’s degree in a related science, such as biology. When they graduate, they receive a DDM (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree, depending on their course of study. You should only go to a dentist that has graduated from an accredited school. Additionally, dentists must be licensed in their respective states. 

But what makes a dentist a family dentist?

Family dentists have the same training that general dentists do. The difference is that they specialize in dentistry for all ages. That might not seem like a huge distinction until one realizes that like all other parts of the body, teeth and gums mature. Infants and children have much softer teeth than adults, and therefore, they get more categories. As adults approach middle age, the shape of their mouths and gums shift, creating other issues. Being a family dentist requires extensive experience as they learn the various nuances that accompany the specialty. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Family Dentistry

Here is a list of questions our clients have asked over the years.

Are General Dentists and Family Dentists the same thing?

No. Family dentists may start as general dentists, but they have experience with a wider range of patients. A general dentist may specialize in treating adults from their late teenage years through to their middle age, while a family dentist would perform work both earlier and later in the lifespan of the patient. 

What are some other types of dentists?

Pediatric dentists generally treat children under the age of 18. In contrast, geriatric dentists usually accept patients who are 65 and older. Some dentists may specialize in cosmetic dentistry, which deals with the appearance of the teeth. There are other fields that are closely related to dentistry, like orthodontics and periodontics. And there are, of course, dental surgeons, who may have backgrounds in any of these areas. 

Do I need a family dentist?

If you are single or part of an adult couple with no children, you may not need a family dentist, although it’s still a viable option. On the other hand, if you have children, aging parents, or believe that you will be having children, a family dentist might be the right choice for you. 

How do I choose a family dentist?

If you are looking for a family dentist in your area, check local reviews. Make sure that your candidate has a DDM or a DDS from an accredited dental school. Find out how long they’ve been in practice.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.