Cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry are two distinct branches of dental care. Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of a person’s smile, while general dentistry is concerned with preventing and treating oral health issues. It’s essential to understand the differences between cosmetic and general dentistry in order to make an informed decision about your dental care.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the aesthetic appearance of a person’s teeth. It includes procedures such as teeth whitening, teeth bonding, porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges, and implants. Cosmetic dentists use advanced techniques to enhance the shape, size, color, and alignment of teeth to create a beautiful smile. In addition to aesthetic improvements, cosmetic dentistry can also help to improve the function of a person’s teeth.
Common Cosmetic Dental Procedures
#1. Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening, or teeth bleaching, is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry services. It involves using a bleaching agent to remove stains and discoloration from the teeth, resulting in a brighter, whiter smile. Teeth whitening can be done in-office or at home with a take-home kit. In-office treatments can provide faster results, while take-home kits are more affordable and can be used over time to maintain results.
#2. Tooth Bonding
This cosmetic procedure involves applying a tooth-colored composite resin to the surface of the teeth. This material can fill gaps, repair chips and cracks, and reshape teeth. The composite resin is hardened with a special light and then polished for a natural look. Composite bonding is an affordable and minimally invasive way to improve the appearance of your smile.
#3. Dental Veneers
Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are bonded to the front surface of the natural teeth to improve their appearance. They can correct various aesthetic issues, such as chips, cracks, discoloration, gaps between teeth, and misaligned teeth. Veneers are custom-made for each patient and provide a more permanent solution than tooth bonding.
#4. Dental Crowns
This cosmetic dental treatment involves placing a cap over the entire surface of a tooth. Crowns can be used to restore broken teeth that have been damaged by decay, trauma, or wear and tear. They can also be used to improve the appearance of teeth that are discolored or misshapen. Crowns are made from porcelain, metal, or a combination of both materials.
#5. Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth. They consist of a false tooth (pontic) held in place by two or more crowns on either side. The crowns are placed over the adjacent teeth, which act as anchors for the bridge. Bridges can be made from porcelain, metal, or a combination of both materials and are custom-made to match the patient’s existing teeth.
#6. Dental Implants
Dental implants are a more permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. They consist of a titanium post surgically implanted into the jawbone and acts as an artificial root. A crown, bridge, or denture is then attached to the post to replace the missing tooth or teeth. Dental implants provide a secure and natural-looking replacement for missing teeth and can last a lifetime with proper care.
#7. Gum Contouring
This aesthetic treatment involves reshaping the gum line to improve the appearance of one’s smile. It can reduce a “gummy” smile, correct uneven or asymmetrical gums, and even out the gum line. During this procedure, a cosmetic dentist will use a laser or scalpel to remove excess gum tissue and shape the gums into a more aesthetically pleasing shape.
What is General Dentistry?
General dentistry focuses on preventive care and restorative treatment for common oral health issues like cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. It involves procedures such as teeth cleanings, fillings, root canals, and extractions. General dentists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of dental problems, from cavities to gum disease. They also provide preventive care, such as regular checkups and cleanings, to help maintain good oral health.
Types of General Dental Services
#1. Dental Cleaning and Exam
Dental cleanings and exams are an essential part of general dentistry. During a dental cleaning, a dentist or hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from your teeth using special tools. They will also floss and polish your teeth to remove any surface stains. After the cleaning, the dentist will examine your mouth for any signs of decay or other problems. If any issues are found, the dentist will discuss treatment options with you.
#2. Cavity Fillings
Dental fillings are used to repair cavities and other minor damage to teeth. During the procedure, a dentist will remove any decay from the affected tooth and then fill the area with a composite resin material. The composite filling material helps to restore the strength and integrity of the tooth.
#3. Sealant and Fluoride Treatment
Sealant and fluoride treatments are essential preventive measures that help to protect teeth from decay. Sealants are thin plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where cavities are most likely to form. They create a barrier between the tooth and food particles, helping to prevent decay. Fluoride treatments involve applying a special solution to the teeth, which helps to strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant to decay.
#4. Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is used to treat an infected or damaged tooth. During the procedure, the dentist will remove the infected pulp from inside the tooth and then fill and seal it with a special material. This helps to prevent further infection and restore the strength of the tooth. Root canals are often necessary when a cavity has become too large or deep to be treated with a filling alone.
#5. Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction is a procedure used to remove a damaged or decayed tooth. During the procedure, the dentist will use special tools to loosen and remove the tooth from its socket in the jawbone. Tooth extractions are usually done when a tooth is too severely damaged or decayed to be saved with other treatments, such as fillings or root canals. In some cases, teeth may need to be extracted to make room for orthodontic treatment.
Should I See a Cosmetic Dentist or a General Dentist?
If you are looking to improve the appearance of your smile, then a cosmetic dentist may be the best option for you. Cosmetic dentists specialize in aesthetic procedures such as teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, and dental implants that can help to enhance the look of your smile. They also have extensive knowledge about the latest techniques and materials used in cosmetic dentistry, so they can provide you with the best possible results.
On the other hand, if you are looking for general dental care, such as professional cleanings and exams, then a general dentist is the best choice. General dentists provide routine preventive care and can also diagnose and treat common dental problems such as cavities and gum disease. They can also refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Visit Our Dental Practice Today!
Our dental professionals provide comprehensive dental care for all of your needs. Whether you are looking for preventive or restorative services such as professional cleanings and root canal treatment or cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening and porcelain veneers, our experienced team of dentists can help. We use the latest techniques and materials to ensure you get the best possible results. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about how we can help you achieve a beautiful, dazzling smile!