Some patients may be confused about the difference between cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry. While some cosmetic dental procedures can provide health benefits, they are primarily concerned with improving the appearance of the patient’s smile. On the other hand, general dentistry addresses dental disorders and their prevention. Learn more about these two treatment approaches below.
Exploring The Difference Between Cosmetic And General Dentistry
One of the primary differences between cosmetic and general dentistry is the presence of oral discomfort. The core of general dentistry is relieving or preventing conditions that create dental discomfort. This starts with the preventative care that occurs at every regular dental visit. During these routine dental exams, your dentist will do an oral cancer screening, perform a professional cleaning, and assess the state of your oral health. Depending on the result of these exams and screenings, your dentist may suggest:
- Root canal work
- Sports or Night Guards
- Fluoride Treatments
- Dental Sealants
These treatments are offered to help address tooth decay. Through these treatments, damage to the teeth can be corrected and prevented. They can also perform these procedures in preparation for or as part of cosmetic treatments.
Cosmetic treatments are not performed to address oral discomfort. However, these procedures do sometimes have benefits in this area and are often performed as part of other treatments. Cosmetic treatments are performed to address misaligned teeth, dental discoloration, excessive gums or enamel, and other aesthetic concerns. Some cosmetic treatments that are commonly performed include::
- Dental veneers.
- Composite bonding.
- Inlays and onlays.
- Dental Whitening
These two types of treatment occasionally overlap. Dental veneers may become stained or cracked over time and use. Whitening this stain and restoring the tooth’s appearance can be considered both aesthetic and restorative in nature. Dental bonding is generally considered an aesthetic procedure, but this resin is also used to repair damage caused by tooth decay. Dentures and implants can correct issues with bite function and slurred speech and improve the appearance of the patient’s smile. Similarly, replacing dental bridges can serve a restorative function while also preventing the shifting of teeth and correcting bite functions.
Extractions are another case where general and cosmetic dentistry may both be occurring. Extractions are performed in a restorative capacity to remove the decayed tooth. This alters the appearance of the smile as well. When a dental implant or bridge is put in place to replace the extracted tooth, this is considered general dentistry but definitely serves a cosmetic function.
General Dentists Can Provide For General and Cosmetic Dentistry
General dentists are trained to perform cosmetic procedures as well as their general form of care. As specialists in your overall oral health, your general dentist is an expert in how to provide the best care for you. These experts can build a treatment plan based on their comprehensive knowledge of your oral condition. If you’re looking at addressing oral health concerns and improving the appearance of your smile, reach out to your general dentist today!