What is a Family Dentist, Really?

What is a Family Dentist, Really?

Posted by Dr. Alicia Abeyta DDS FAGD on Nov 12 2008, 02:38 AM

Thirty years ago when I started my practice, family dentistry meant the same as general dentistry. People expected the family dentist to be a jack-of all trades, providing a wide menu of services like orthodontics, root canals, extraction and dentures. Dentists were expected to treat patients of all ages from early childhood through the elderly.

During the past 20 years there has been an expansion of knowledge and technology. We now know that a single practitioner cannot master the wide range of techniques necessary to deliver functional, durable dentistry. Techniques are more sophisticated and complex. For example, in 1977 an extraction simply meant removing the tooth. Now, bone preservation must be considered with every tooth that is removed as well as the subsequent replacement, like a dental implant. The site must be managed from the time before the tooth is removed until the after the final restoration is placed, sometimes a year later.

For this and many similar reasons, family dentistry requires a team of specialists. The group is selected to provide consistency and longevity over the life of the patient. The family dentist is now serving in a roll as a coordinator of service as well a primary care giver.

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