You have probably heard of cosmetic surgery, but many people are not aware that there is a cosmetic side to dentistry as well. While general dentists do provide some cosmetic services, cosmetic dentists specialize in treatments that focus on improving the appearance of your smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry VS General Dentistry
The difference between these two kinds of dentistry lies mostly in the name. Cosmetic dentists do work that helps people feel better about the way they look, but usually, these procedures are not related to better health. General dentists focus more on preventative care such as teeth cleaning, and they also work on restorative care. Restorative care is fixing things that may be broken or in poor health and includes treatments like dental fillings, crowns, and bridges.
One of the best ways to look at the difference between the two is to consider a chipped tooth. If you accidentally chip off a piece of your tooth but there is no crack or damage to the rest of it, you don’t need to worry about having your general dentist fix it. The chipped tooth doesn’t present any risk to your health, however, it may make you feel self-conscious. In this case, you would go to a cosmetic dentist to have them fix your tooth. If there was a crack or damage that could get infected and put your health at risk, a general dentist would be needed.
Here are some examples of services offered in cosmetic dentistry.
Most cosmetic dentists offer teeth whitening or teeth bleaching services. Over time your teeth can become stained from a variety of factors. Some foods and drinks like coffee, tea, berries, tomatoes, and more can easily stain your teeth and it can be hard to get rid of on your own. Habits like smoking can also cause your teeth to become discolored, and at-home whitening products from the store don’t always do the trick, so it is better to get them from a dentist.
A cosmetic dentist usually offers in-office as well as at-home teeth whitening. If you get your teeth whitening done in the office it will probably take about an hour to finish, but you won’t have to worry about doing it yourself. If you would rather whiten your teeth at home, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and make small liners. Then you will be able to use a bleach given to you by your dentist to fill the liners and place them over your teeth, usually for a few hours.
In some cases, the teeth are deeply stained, and teeth whitening is not enough to fix it. Instead, cosmetic dentists will attach composite bonding material to the teeth that need to be fixed. The material is moldable so it can easily be shaped to match the rest of your teeth, and can be used to fix cracks or chips as well. However, dental bonds do not always last very long, so many people go with veneers instead.
Surprisingly, many cosmetic dentist offices have started offering BOTOX as one of their services. BOTOX is an injectable neurotoxin that prevents the muscles from contracting so that wrinkles can be smoothed out. Many patients who receive BOTOX treatments report little to no discomfort, and the results usually last around three to six months. BOTOX is a great anti-aging treatment but it can also be used for some medical conditions, including TMJ pain.
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.