When it’s time to choose a dentist for a dental procedure, one of the biggest questions people have is about the cost. It’s no secret that dental care can be pricey, depending on what you need to have done, and everyone wants a dentist that is affordable.
If you’re thinking about whether to choose a family dentist instead of a specialist or different type of practitioner, the good news is that you’re on the right track. All family dentists are general dentists; according to the Academy of Family Dentistry, the majority of the 143,000 dentists practicing in the U.S. and Canada are general dentists. General dentists provide a wide range of procedures, rather than specializing in one area. They can perform services such as root canals, cleanings, dentures, crowns and implants, sealants, gum disease treatment, and much more.
Because family dentists do not specialize, it means that, in many instances, their services can be more affordable than other types of dental providers. Specialists must complete additional schooling beyond the basic dental school requirements. This allows them to become experts in their field, but it also means their services may cost more. Also, dental care that requires a specialist is usually more labor-intensive, meaning it takes the dentist more time and energy to complete, and can sometimes involve purchasing specialized items (such as braces).
So, for most routine types of procedures, finding a good family dentist can help you save on dental care for you and your family.
Benefits of a Family Dentist
A family dentist, much as the name implies, can serve your family at all stages of life. While a pediatric dentist specializes in children, a family dentist serves children and adults, which means your children can continue seeing the same dentist for many years.
Family dental practices are also sometimes made up of several dentists who specialize in different areas. For instance, a single practice may include a general family dentist, an orthodontist, and another type of specialist. It’s not unusual to find practices called “Family and Cosmetic Dentistry” that include general family dentists, as well as specialists. This can be a definite advantage for several reasons:
- You won’t have to worry about finding a new specialist for different types of dental work. You can stick with the office and the providers that you’re already comfortable with.
- You can avoid having to make multiple trips to different dental providers. This is especially true in cases where specialty services are needed, as well as regular dental checkups, such as for braces, retainers, or other orthodontic procedures.
- Your entire family can be patients of a family dentist. You won’t have to worry about finding different providers for different family members.
How to Choose an Affordable Family Dentist
While family dentists can be more affordable, you probably don’t want to base your choice of a dentist simply on price. Even though it can be tempting to choose the cheapest dentist available, you may find that the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best value. Some factors to consider when choosing a family dentist include:
- Referrals. One of the best ways to find a dentist that you and your family will love is by asking your family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors for referrals to dentists in your area. If they’ve had a good experience with a dentist, chances are you will too. On the flip side, if they’ve had a less-than-positive experience, you’ll know that, too.
- Location. This one is pretty straightforward. Is the family dentist located in an area that is convenient for you and your family? If so, it will make scheduling and keeping appointments simpler.
- Atmosphere. Are the staff friendly? Do they make an effort to help and explain things when necessary? Do you feel comfortable there?
- Insurance and payment options. If you have dental insurance, you’ll want to choose a provider that accepts your insurance. If you don’t, a family dentist who will work with you on payment plans and options is a great way to help keep costs more affordable.
- Use our search tool to find a provider office near you.
A family dentist can certainly be more affordable. But—more importantly—a family or general dentist can be a great option for dental care for your whole family for years to come.