Dental Clinic vs Dental Office: What’s the Difference and Which is Right for You?

Posted on: March 19, 2024 | Blog

When it comes to dental care, the terms “dental clinic” and “dental office” are often used interchangeably, but they are actually different settings that offer different services. Let’s explore the distinctions between the two and help you determine which might be the better fit for your dental needs.


Dental Clinic vs Dental Office

First, what is a dental clinic and what is a dental office? There are a few important differences that influence how each entity provides dental services, and which services they provide.

A dental clinic is usually associated with a hospital, school, government office, or another public establishment. They may provide instruction to dental students as well as low-cost services to the public. Since dental clinics generally prioritize the most important types of care, they usually provide basic or emergency services, such as tooth cleaning, extractions, root canals, or emergency treatment for infection or other issues.

Dental offices are privately owned businesses with one or several dentists, orthodontists, hygienists, and other staff members. Dental offices provide the basic dental services listed above, including tooth cleaning, extractions, root canals and emergency treatment, as well as other services, such as cosmetic dentistry, braces, tooth whitening, and more.


Dental Clinic Dental Office
  • Usually associated with a school, hospital, or government office.
  • May include instructional services for dental students.
  • Generally provides basic services such as tooth cleaning and extraction.
  • Privately owned by dentists, orthodontists, or third parties.
  • All services are rendered by licensed dentists, hygienists etc who have completed their education.
  • May provide a range of services including cleaning, extraction, cosmetic dentistry, and more.


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Dental Clinic vs Dental Office: Advantages and Disadvantages

Dental clinics and dental offices both have advantages and disadvantages. Since dental clinics prioritize oral health, they generally don’t offer the range of services that might improve the appearance of teeth. Dental clinics also try to serve as many people as possible, so there may be long wait times. Generally, with each visit, patients will interact with different dentists and hygienists, so it’s not ideal for lifetime care. However, dental clinics also prioritize low-cost services, so patients generally receive more affordable care compared to private practices.

Dental offices provide essential care to maintain your oral health, as well as cosmetic services that can improve the appearance of teeth. Since services are scheduled by appointment, you will generally experience shorter wait times. Patients are also likely to see the same dentist and hygienist with each visit, so it’s easier to develop a continued relationship with dental professionals who are familiar with your health and service history, which is key to lifetime oral health care.

Dental Clinic vs Dental Office: Advantages and Disadvantages

Dental Clinic Dental Office


  • Dental clinics usually offer services at a lower cost
  • These clinics may be more accessible for those on tight budgets



    • Smaller range of services
    • Not ideal for lifetime care
    • Long wait times

  • Offices usually offer a wider range of services
  • You can visit a dental office for lifetime care at any stage
  • You’ll usually experience shorter wait times



    • Can be more expensive

Which is Right for You?

When to Choose a Dental Clinic

To decide between dental clinics vs dental offices, it’s helpful to consider your situation and which type of care you’re looking for. For example, if you have a single, pressing dental issue, but you’re putting off care because of costs, a dental clinic may be a good option for you to get the immediate care you need. Similarly, if you haven’t received a dental cleaning in a few years because you’re on a very tight budget, a dental clinic could be a budget-friendly place for a general check-up.

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When to Choose a Dentist Office

If you’re looking for long-term care for yourself and your family, a dental office may be a better fit. You and your children will need regular cleaning appointments and x-rays to make sure your teeth are healthy. You or your children may also need or want braces, wisdom teeth removal, teeth whitening or other procedures over time. Working with a dental office will ensure that you can get the personal care that you need at the right time, for optimal lifelong oral health.


Both dental clinics and dental offices are important institutions to help patients maintain their oral health. If you are interested in making an appointment with a dental office in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, contact BDG today.