A general dentist is responsible for diagnosing and treating all kinds of oral problems for all his patients. Getting regular examinations from your general dentist is an absolute must to ensure good oral hygiene and health. Sometimes a patient may need an extensive treatment which may require your general dentist to refer the patient to his colleagues and other dentists to ensure you get the treatment you need.

Which setting does a general dentist work in?

General dentists may work in a variety of settings and practices. They can either choose to work independently in their own practice or become partners or associates with other dentists in a group practice. There are 143,000 general dentists practicing in the United States altogether, and the majority of them happen to be general dentists. Some of them prefer to work for the government and participate in R&D programs, dental colleges, health services and different corporations.

What does a general dentist really do?

General dentists can perform a variety of procedures on their patients. Gone are the days when one person was a dentist that dealt with all the problems people had with their teeth and gums. Now dentists must go to college for a good few years to learn the craft. A dentist is no longer able to fix all of his patient’s oral health problems. Now dentists must specialize in different areas, so they have extra training in one specific dental procedure such as

  • Dental Fillings
  • Root canals
  • Bonding
  • Dental crown and bridges


  • Dental implants
  • Orthodontics
  • Mouth guards and braces
  • Dentures
  • Whitening and cleaning

A general dentist is your first line of defense against oral problems. He is the one that you are going to see most often so he can help you with the overall care of teeth and gums. It is estimated that 65% of all dental procedures are either preventive or diagnostic. There is a general misconception that you only need to visit your dentist if something is wrong with your teeth. Because a general dentist can help patients avoid progression of oral diseases. If left untreated, it will lead to complications and pain. Not to mention, an expensive bill to pay.

It is always recommended to visit your general dentist every six months. So he can keep an eye on your oral health and discover any problems that may need require attention.

What to expect at your visit?

At a routine visit to your family/general dentist, you will have a thorough examination of your mouth including your teeth and gums. You can expect light cleaning of your teeth and advice about your oral health.

How long does it take to become a general dentist?

To qualify as a general dentist, each dental student must study for an undergraduate degree in dentistry and spend another 2-4 years to practice in a dental school to pass the licensure exam.

Why is being a member of AGD important for a dentist?

If your general dentist is a member of the AGD, it means that he cares about the long-term oral health of his patients. All the members of AGD are required to continue studying so they can stay relevant with the latest treatment options to provide top class treatment to his patients.

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