A general dentist is your primary care dental provider similar to your primary care physician. You would schedule recurring dental wellness visits, as you would for your medical physical at your primary care physician. However since gum disease is so common among adults, due to lack of proper care, environment or genetics, it is necessary to have this check-up visit more frequently.
The general dentist would usually be the first one to diagnose, treat, and manage your overall oral health care. As a generalist, they must continue with training in all of the disciplines of dentistry.
If a patient's condition or treatment needs were beyond the general dentist's level of training, they would act like your quarterback, managing your treatment sequencing between the different modalities through the specialists.
A restorative dentist describes a provider who usually has more advanced skills in treatment planning and coordinating the different disciplines for those patients that require rehabilitating the dentition. They may themselves provide the treatment or coordinate with other specialties.