What is the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Cosmetic Dentist?

Cosmetic dentistry is the type of dental care you need when you want to improve the appearance of your smile. Orthodontics, on the other hand, is a specialized form of dental care that focuses on correcting the position of teeth and jaw to address an improper bite. Both orthodontics and aesthetic dentistry work with the teeth to achieve a more attractive and pleasant smile. However, there may be some confusion about what each branch of dentistry entails and how they differ. Aesthetic dentistry concentrates on the “cosmetic side” of the spectrum, limiting treatment to mainly superficial areas of teeth.

Orthodontists, however, specialize in correcting dental irregularities. They may be consulted to help with misaligned or crooked teeth, an insufficient bite or a crowded mouth. An aesthetic dentist deals directly with teeth, aesthetics and how they feel, as well as how teeth work in the mouth. Therefore, you can consult a cosmetic dentist for veneers to treat the problem of stained or golden teeth, for example. While cosmetic dentistry doesn't change the actual alignment of teeth, it can be used to address aesthetic and dental health needs.

To understand a fundamental difference between dental care and orthodontics, you should know that not all dentists are orthodontists, but all orthodontists are dentists. General dentists are highly qualified professionals who care about the overall health, well-being and beauty of your smile. Orthodontists are dentists who have received additional education to specialize in the diagnosis, prevention and correction of teeth and jaws that are out of position. Both orthodontists and cosmetic dentists are specialists who can help you correct imperfections that prevent you from having the ideal appearance of your teeth. All other aesthetic problems, such as color, tone, shape or even damage to the teeth, can only be solved with a cosmetic procedure. For example, if a tooth was chipped or broken during an accident, a cosmetic dentist can repair the damage or use porcelain crowns to cover it.

While a dentist focuses on the broader aspects of the mouth, an orthodontist is a licensed dentist who specializes in correcting dental irregularities such as crooked teeth, crowded teeth, and excessive or insufficient bites. Your dentist helps you provide all the preventive care you need for better oral health, as well as routine maintenance of your smile and the occasional cosmetic update. If you have spaces between your teeth, a cosmetic dentist can use veneers to cover them and help you achieve a perfect smile in just a few visits. To help you decide on the question of the dentist versus the orthodontist and determine which one is right for you, we will first highlight the main aspects of each branch of dentistry and then explain their differences. Aesthetic dentists are trained in the latest procedures and innovative techniques to help improve the appearance of your smile, focusing on surface problems and not addressing structural changes in the mouth.

Whether you're looking for a comprehensive oral health dentist or one who can offer a wide range of cosmetic and orthodontic services, you'll find what you're looking for at Nirvana Dental. Although both work with teeth, aesthetic dentists and orthodontists are not interchangeable; each has specific skills to help patients get the smile they deserve and address any issues that have been plaguing them. Jason Smithson is an internationally renowned cosmetic and reconstructive dentist who formerly worked in London's Harley Street Medical District. He now resides in St Agnes, Cornwall where he offers dental services, dental education and medico-legal expert witnesses.

Tania Demontigny
Tania Demontigny

Friendly tv evangelist. Extreme pop culture advocate. Proud beer advocate. Food buff. Certified travel fan.

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