As you look into options for regular dental care or dental procedures, you’ll find two common options available: general dentists and family dentists. While both may be able to provide the services you need, there are some key differences you should know before deciding who to entrust with your dental care.

What is General Dentistry?

General dentistry covers most standard dental procedures and routine cleanings. With an extensive education and either a DDS or DMD degree, general dentists can support all of your generalized dental care needs.


General dentists typically offer the following dental procedures in addition to professional tooth cleanings:

  • Dental fillings
  • Crowns
  • Veneers
  • Dentures
  • Teeth whitening
  • Bonding
  • Root canals
  • Invisalign


Many general dentists restrict the age of patients they will see, often not servicing patients under the age of 16. If that is the case, you may need to take your children to a family or pediatric dentist instead of having all of your dental care in one place. Your dentist may also refer you elsewhere if you require a dental procedure they don’t offer, or are in need of extensive orthodontics.

What is Family Dentistry?

A dentist practicing family dentistry also must have a DDS or DMD degree and will offer all the same services you can get from a general dentist. The key difference between general dentistry and family dentistry is that a family dentist offers dental procedures and care for all ages, from the very first baby teeth all the way through adulthood.


You do not need to have children of your own in order to see a family dentist. They offer dental procedures and education for patients of all ages and stages in life and can aid anyone in forming better dental care habits. This helps build continuity as well, establishing a dental home for your whole family for life.

Benefits of Choosing a Family Dentist

There are many reasons to choose a family dentist instead of a general dentist. While general dentists can help you get the dental procedures you need and perform routine cleanings, they don’t typically have the same focus on education and dental accessibility for all ages. Here are a few benefits of having a family dentist, regardless of age or family structure:

1. A Family-Friendly Environment

Because many patients of a family dentistry practice will have young children, the environment will be designed with family-friendliness and child comfort in mind. Your family dentist may have toys and books in the waiting room to ease anxiety as a child waits for their appointment to begin. They also may offer fun music or TV shows to keep children calm and entertained during dental procedures, helping them to hold still while the dentist works on their teeth.

2. A Focus on Education

Family dentists don’t just clean your teeth and provide cosmetic dentistry. They also tend to emphasize the importance of oral health education for patients of all ages. A family dentist can educate young children on best practices for cleaning their teeth, aid elderly patients in learning how to care for their dentures, and advise all patients on how to better care for their oral health.

3. Records of Family Dental History

When your entire family receives care from the same family dentist, all of your dental records will be accessible in one place. This makes it easier for your dentist to anticipate potential dental issues your children may face based on your records. It also will make it easier for you to collect your dental information if you ever move and need to find a new family dentist.

4. Convenient Appointment Scheduling

Keeping track of several dental appointments can be difficult, not to mention figuring out what to do with your young children during your own appointments. The family-friendly environment paired with your entire family seeing the same dentist makes scheduling much easier!


You can schedule back-to-back appointments so that you all get your dental care simultaneously. Children can play with toys during their parents’ appointments or can take the opportunity to watch and see what a dental cleaning looks like. This can also remove some anxiety around getting in the big chair and letting the dentist perform a cleaning.

Dentistry for the Whole Family in Kansas City

If you’re looking for quality dental care for the entire family in the Kansas City metro, we’d love to welcome you to Rhoades Family Dentistry! We deliver an experience like no other to keep mouths healthy and pain-free while creating a comforting, welcoming space where everyone can feel at home. Contact us to learn more and book your first appointment.