How is a general dentist different from a family dentist?

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How is a general dentist different from a family dentist?

For those outside of the dental field, the profession can seem complicated. One of the most common questions a dentist receives is: How does a general dentist differ from a family dentist?

Our answer? General and family dentists basically function the same but have slightly different focuses. Think of family dentistry as general dentistry aimed at children and teenagers. A general dentist, like ours, is directed towards an adults and seniors. For example, because Dr. Lee’s office is located in the business district of Atlanta, GA, our clientele will most likely be businessmen and businesswomen. Therefore, we have created an environment and practice that is tailored to their needs.

 Still, both types of dentists are trained and prepared to treat patients of all ages.

Continue reading to learn more about family and general dentists.


General and family dentists have one of two degrees: a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). Some schools offer DDS while others offer DMD, but each degree requires the same classes which means both family and general dentists aquire the same education and skills.

Acceptance into dental school requires students to complete a bachelor’s degree and pass the Dental Acceptance Test. Once accepted, the students go on to complete a doctoral degree (the DDS or DMD) which includes regular coursework and clinical rotations. This typically takes four years to accomplish.

Once a student graduates, he or she must pass two examinations to obtain a license. Once the dentist has a license, she must take continuing education throughout each year.


This education prepares general and family dentists to offer a variety of services. These include preventive, restorative, and cosmetic procedures. However, not every dentist will offer the same treatments.


Preventive dental services aid in keeping the mouth free of cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues. These treatments include regular dental cleanings and exams, oral cancer screenings, dental sealants, x-rays, and fluoride treatments.


The goal of restorative dentistry is to replace missing or damaged teeth. Both family and general dentists do so through the following services:

  • Traditional dentures
  • Dental bridge
  • Dental crowns
  • Tooth-colored fillings
  • Inlays or Onlays
  • Root canal therapy
  • Tooth extraction


Cosmetic dentistry does exactly what it sounds like it would do— makes smiles beautiful! There are so many ways a dentist can improve the appearance of your smile. Here are some of the most common cosmetic dental services:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Smile makeover
  • Dental bonding
  • Gum contouring


Some dentists provide additional services because of their continuing education training courses. For example, Dr. Lee offers:

Office Environment

The main difference between a general and family dentist might be the office environment. Of course, a family dental practice will likely be more geared towards children. There may be cartoons on the TV and a play area in the waiting room.

Patients can expect a friendly and comfortable experience at a general dentist’s practice. They can also expect a professional and relaxing environment. Many general dentists focus on creating a space where patients can relax and enjoy a break from their everyday lives.

Meet with Our General Dentist Today

If you’re searching for an exceptional general dentist in the Grant Park area, look no further! Schedule an appointment with our friendly, professional staff today at 404-328-7177.

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