Beyond the occasional check-up, dentistry isn’t usually a major part of our lives. But professional dentists offer a wide range of different services, with cosmetic dentistry now existing alongside the more essential general dentistry. And taking your oral health more seriously can have some significant benefits. For example, did you know that visiting a professional teeth whitening dental practice could make you 58 percent more likely to get a job offer? Let’s compare what’s available from a general vs. cosmetic dentist.
Cosmetic Dentistry Services
Cosmetic dentistry is a growing field, and a number of specialized dentists can offer various procedures that improve the way your teeth look. Though they’re primarily aimed at making them look more appealing, they can also protect the teeth, and improve your bite. Cosmetic dentistry services include:
- Teeth whitening. This usually involves applying mild abrasives or bleaching agents to the surface of teeth, removing stains and temporarily reversing some of the discoloration that is caused by diet, ageing, and other factors.
- Crowns (caps) / veneers / bonding. A range of procedures and products that can fix discolored, broken, decayed, or misshapen teeth.
- Inlays/onlays (fillings). Usually an alternative to crowns or bonding, this involves creating custom-made items from gold or ceramics to fit around or inside the healthy tooth, preserving as much of it as possible.
- Dental implants. This is an advanced procedure that involves inserting titanium into the jawbone socket, to serve as the root for a replacement tooth.
General Dentistry Services
General dentistry is what most people associate with dentistry. Patients who visit a general dentist can get the most fundamental aspects of their oral health taken care of, and dental professionals recommend that you pay them a visit at least twice a year. General dentistry services might include:
- Restorative services. This often involves identifying tooth decay, removing it, and filling in the tooth. Trauma or other injuries to the mouth can also be dealt with by a general dentist, and they can diagnose and treat the causes of tooth pain or gum disease. More advanced procedures like root canals are also available, and a general dentist can help you get fitted with dentures or recommend orthodontics.
- Preventative services. Preventing problems before they develop further is another key part of general dentistry. Professional teeth cleaning is a useful way to maintain oral health, and general dentists can also carry out x-rays of your mouth to make sure nothing goes under the radar. They might also recommend sealants, or fit you with a custom-made mouthguard if you have a very active lifestyle.
- General health concerns. While general dentists are focused primarily on caring for the teeth and gums, they also have extensive knowledge about the mouth and how it interacts with the rest of the body. A general dentist can detect if an oral problem is reflective of a broader health condition, and they can offer you appropriate advice or referral to a doctor. Nutritional counseling is another field they’re trained in, and they can also provide treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
- Cosmetic dentistry. A general dentist is often also capable of providing cosmetic dentistry services. The difference between a general vs. cosmetic dentist in this area is mostly in how specialized they are.
General vs. Cosmetic Dentist
If you’re concerned about how your teeth look, it might be worthwhile for you to see a cosmetic dentist. The range of procedures that they offer could have a huge positive impact on your appearance, confidence, and general well-being, and many patients might not be aware of just how much is possible.
Visit your local dental professional to find out more about what’s offered by a general vs. cosmetic dentist, and see which one is best for you.