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A dentist explains to the patient the differences between cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry vs General Dentistry: Key Differences

Your oral health significantly contributes to your overall well-being but is regrettably overlooked, even though everyone aspires to have a healthy, beautiful smile. This brings us to two important fields of dentistry: cosmetic dentistry vs general dentistry.

But how does a cosmetic dentist vs an orthodontist meet your dental health and aesthetics needs? And when do you need one vs. the other?

What Is General Dentistry?

General dentistry involves diagnoses, treatment planning, and preventive care to maintain your oral health. A regular dentist or family dentist will provide a wide range of services like tooth cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, and gum disease treatments. They will also handle routine checkups, dental x-rays, root canal treatment, and oral hygiene advice.

Furthermore, a general dentist will also be responsible for identifying any potential problems, such as oral cancer, and referring patients to specialists if needed.

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

A growing field thanks to the advancement of technology, cosmetic dentistry targets the aesthetic appearance of teeth. It revolves around creating a positive change to your teeth and enhancing your smile.

What is considered cosmetic dentistry? Cosmetic dentists perform services like teeth whitening, placing porcelain veneers, dental bonding, and cosmetic orthodontics procedures to correct misaligned teeth. Cosmetic treatments can also mend chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth.

What Is the Actual Difference Between Cosmetic and General Dentistry?

1. Training and Education

Both fields require a degree in dentistry from a recognized dental school, but cosmetic dentists often have additional training. They undergo extensive education in cosmetic procedures and stay updated on the latest dental aesthetics and dental technology trends.

General dentists, on the other hand, remain focused on overall oral hygiene, preventative care, and diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases. Their specialty education typically covers broader areas of restorative and preventive dentistry, as opposed to primarily aesthetic enhancements.

2. Range of Services Offered

General dentistry focuses on oral health maintenance, with services like dental cleanings, filling cavities, and treatments for diseases. It’s the base upon which dentistry rests. But who does veneer, dentist or orthodontist? Cosmetic dentistry offers a range of specialized services for enhancing your smile, like teeth whitening, dental veneers, and dental bonding.

3. Materials Used

General dentists frequently use amalgam fillings and dental crowns for practical restorative treatments. However, cosmetic dentists prefer porcelain or composite resin, aiming to maintain the natural appearance of the teeth.

4. Cost Difference

Generally, cosmetic dentistry treatments tend to be pricier. The use of high-quality materials like composite resin shells or biocompatible substitutes, alongside advanced techniques, makes these procedures costlier.

5. Philosophy and Focus

A general dentist’s primary concern is your oral health. They offer preventative care and treat dental health issues. A cosmetic dentist, while also valuing oral health, gives priority to the aesthetics of teeth. They work to offer smile makeovers and transform even the most uncomfortable smile into a dazzling one.

When Do I Need Cosmetic Dentistry Vs. General Dentistry Services?

When to See a General Dentist

You should regularly see a general dentist for routine cleanings and check-ups. They can diagnose and treat tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental health issues. They also play an essential role in educating you on how to maintain the health of your smile, including advising on brushing and flossing and recommending fluoride treatments.

General dentists are also the first point of contact when you have dental emergencies that need immediate attention, such as a chipped or broken tooth. Their extensive training qualifies them to treat most simple to complex oral health issues, providing professional advice and performing necessary dental procedures.

When to See a Cosmetic Dentist

A cosmetic dentist is your go-to professional when you want to improve the appearance of your smile. Whether you want to achieve a whiter smile, correct misaligned teeth, or replace a missing tooth with an alternative to dentures, a cosmetic dentist can help.

Interestingly, many people may wonder, “Are dentures considered cosmetic?” While they do serve a functional purpose in replacing missing teeth, dentures can indeed have a cosmetic aspect as well, as they help to improve the appearance of your smile. If you’re self-conscious about your smile, consider making an appointment with a cosmetic dentist.

Overlap Between General and Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry overlap in several areas. For instance, both fields offer dental crowns, though the materials may differ. Dental bonding, a procedure to repair a chipped, discolored, or damaged tooth, also falls under both fields.

Are braces cosmetic or medical? While most consider braces as a tool to improve appearance, they also serve a great medical purpose, such as improving malocclusions, which can affect one’s ability to chew and speak.

Get Your Dream Smile With Dental Care of Boca Raton

Whether you’re seeking a basic teeth cleaning, a solution for tooth decay, or a smile transformation, our dental care professionals at Dental Care of Boca Raton can help. Our team has extensive training in both general and cosmetic dentistry services, from preventive care to denture fittings and cosmetic restorations.

Experience the difference with Dental Care of Boca Raton, and let us help you achieve and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. Get in touch with us today to schedule your appointment.