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What You Need to Know About Dentistry: General, Family and Cosmetic

Dentistry is a complex field with many different specialties. While there are about 200,000 dentists in the US, they do not all perform the same procedures or specialize in the same areas.

This article will help you understand the basic differences between general, family, and cosmetic dentists. 

So, let’s talk about the differences. 


What is a general dentist?

Our general Dentist in Wicker Park specialize in solving dental problems associated with oral health, tooth pain, and discomfort. It typically includes procedures like tooth extraction, oral cancer screenings, emergency dentistry, dental checkups, dental cleanings, dental crowns, and cavity filling. They might be considered a jack of all trades. 

They tend to focus on restorative, preventive, and in some cases cosmetic dental procedures, as well as your overall oral health. 

General dentists are primarily associated with general dental care. Think of them as a primary care doctor, but for your teeth/mouth. They offer a wide range of treatments, instead of focusing on one particular aspect. General dentists may choose to refer you to a specialist if your case is too extreme or outside of their personal comfort zone.

What is a cosmetic dentist?

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentists undergo the same training and schooling as general dentists.  General and cosmetic dentists have many skills in common. Both general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry can perform restorative procedures. Both can also take x-rays and fill cavities.

However, a cosmetic dentist is often referred to as such because they focus on cosmetic dental work.

They tend to focus more on aesthetic aspects of dental medicine, which may include porcelain veneers, dental implants, Invisalign (or clear braces), dental crowns, bonding, teeth whitening, and dental bridges. 

While they tend to work more on the cosmetic side of dentistry, they are not limited to that, if they choose. Cosmetic dentists can also provide the same treatments as general and family dentists.

A cosmetic dentist may work with an older clientele that has more need for cosmetic dentistry and who have the money to afford these treatments. 

What is a family dentist? 

A family dental office is often referred to as such because they focus on all aspects of dental care for patients in their immediate families, including children, parents, grandparents, and spouses.

Like general and cosmetic dentists, a family dentist can do all of the same procedures if they choose. However, they often tailor their offices more for younger people like kids and teens as well as their parents or maybe even grandparents. 

In some cases, they may even be pediatric dentists, who have received extra specialized training for dealing with kids, teens, and people with special needs. 

It is important to understand that many dentists choose to focus on multiple types of dentistry. A dental office could have it’s focus on one, two, or even all three aspects of this type of dentistry. 

Most dental offices are open about the various treatments they work in if you look through their website, but if you have any questions about a specific office, a simple way of finding out which services they provide or offer would be to call the office and speak with the staff. 

To recap, here’s what the different types of dentists do. 

General dentists often work in private practices and offer a variety of different dental procedures and treatments. 

Cosmetic dentists focus on improving the appearance of teeth rather than treating health problems or performing routine examinations. 

A family dentist specializes in children’s dental care as well as providing oral exams for adults who want them done by an expert who has had additional training (for example those at risk).

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