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How "General" Is General Dentistry?

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Everywhere you go, you see dentist offices with the attached words, "general dentistry." What does that mean, really? How "general" is general dentistry? If you want to know because you want to know if there is a difference between general dentistry and any other kind of dentistry, then the following information is provided. 

General Is for All

General dentistry is dentistry for everyone. It means that these dentists see kids, adults, and the elderly, with no exclusions. They clean teeth, do x-rays, fill cavities, and make the typical dental restorations (e.g., crowns and bridges). They may or may not provide more advanced dental procedures. It just depends on the licenses and certifications that the dentist or dentists hold in that office. 

Special Services Are Outsourced

If you need more advanced procedures, or if you or your children need/want braces, then the general dentist typically refers you to a specialist/orthodontist. The general dentist is a dentist at the most basic level. He/she went all the way through dental school, graduated, and received a license, and did not do more or complete more education for anything else. If all you ever need a dentist for is cleanings and the occasional cavity or root canal, then this is the right dentist to see. If you need much more than that, this dentist will refer you to someone within your dental insurance network who can help. 

Dentures Are Sent out to Be Completed

While a general dentist can look at and treat problems with older adults' gums, remaining teeth, and fitting of dentures, he/she generally does not make dentures in-house. A mold is taken for dentures, and then sent out to a lab to create them. That is why you have to wait for your dentures if you visit a general dental clinic that does not have a denturist, a prosthodontist, and/or a denture lab onsite. Any and all other tooth-related problems you have as a senior citizen or elderly person can be treated by the general dentist. 

Finding a New General Dentist Is Easy

On the flip side, finding a new general dentist is easy. They are everywhere! Many of them have private practices, but some work for franchise dental clinics, too. If you have to find one within your dental insurance program, you can call the toll-free number on your insurance card to see which dentists near you take your dental insurance.