General dentists are the primary dental care providers for patients of all ages. They can treat you and your entire family and care for your oral health. This is crucial to your overall health. Your general dentist takes responsibility for the diagnosis, treatment and overall coordination of services to meet your oral health needs. If you need a specialized dental procedure performed, your general dentist may work with other dentists to make sure you get the care you need.
General dentists make up the majority of the 143,000 dentists practicing in the United States and Canada. Sometimes they become partners or associates with other dentists in a group practice. Other general dentists own their practice.
To become a general dentist, three or more years of undergraduate college education degree (typically with a strong science foundation) plus four years of dental school is required. After graduating, dentists must take a licensure examination which is required by the state they practice in. A dentist may be a DDS, which stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery, or DMD, which stands for Doctor of Dental Medicine.
Source: MedlinePlus and Academy of General Dentistry
Note: This definition was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. This site is not responsible for the information on other sites. The information here — and on all websites — is not intended to be a substitute for care given to you by a health professional.
- MouthHealthy, American Dental Association
- The ADA's public site has an excellent section on dental topics A-Z.
- Know Your Teeth, Academy of General Dentistry
- The AGD's site has excellent oral-health information for all ages, including children's and seniors' dental health.
- Colorado Dental Association
- This site, for both dental professionals and the public, contains information on many dental topics, including how to find low-cost care if your income is limited.