The Difference Between a Cosmetic Dentist and a General Dentist

A general dentist is the go-to for basic dental needs for the entire family, while a cosmetic dentist focuses more on the aesthetics of the patient's smile. Both types of dentists can fill cavities, repair tooth decay, and perform hygiene appointments and teeth whitening treatments. However, a cosmetic dentist has received additional training in many different procedures to ensure that the patient's smile looks its best. Aesthetic dentists learn to solve dental problems while taking into account the aesthetics of the smile.

They will still consider the health of their teeth and gums, but their goals are slightly different from those of a general dentist. For example, when performing a posterior crown, an aesthetic dentist will take the time to make sure that it blends perfectly with the other teeth. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) states that cosmetic dentists offer a wide range of aesthetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, dental implants, dental bonding, and veneers. While a general dentist can perform these services, a cosmetic dentist will do so with an emphasis on achieving the best aesthetic results.

You may notice price variations from one dental provider to another, even among general and aesthetic dentists who can perform some of the same procedures. This is why aesthetic dentists are better able to perform aesthetic-related treatments, such as adhesives, porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, or smile changes. Although it is customary to visit a general dentist regularly, sometimes problems arise in which it is better to visit a cosmetic dentist, especially if aesthetics are of paramount importance. A cosmetic dentist will have received additional training specifically dedicated to this collection of treatments.

For example, a cosmetic dentist may fill a patient's cavity with the same technique as a general dentist, but will be in charge of choosing a filling that closely matches existing teeth. Not all cosmetic dentists are the same; they will offer different services depending on the type of training they have followed. A general and aesthetic dentist can also perform this type of oral surgery, but a prosthodontist has much more education and training. Cosmetic dentists tend to attend more seminars and training after finishing dental school. Although it is not a recognized specialty, there are ways in which a person who wants to become a cosmetic dentist can differentiate themselves and complete specialized training beyond dental school. While you may be tempted to go to your general dentist for cosmetic procedures, you may want to think twice.

Tania Demontigny
Tania Demontigny

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