Since some general dentists have the ability to perform certain types of cosmetic procedures, confusion about the differences between general and cosmetic dentists exists. Nonetheless, several basic differences between the two are readily apparent once you take a closer look. General and cosmetic dentists are important to an individual’s oral health, but each group holds a unique place within the field of modern dentistry. General dentists focus on the prevention of dental problems as well as the diagnosis and treatment of existing issues. Cosmetic dentists concentrate on creating a beautiful smile and improving the functionality of the teeth.
General and Cosmetic Dentists: Educational Training
Many dental specialties exist. No matter which field is chosen by a professional, he must first train to practice general dentistry procedures. Therefore, both general and cosmetic dentists can practice basic dental procedures. In order to complete cosmetic dentistry procedures, a dentist must undertake extensive training that fully prepares him to use the techniques involved.
General and Cosmetic Dentists: Procedures
General and cosmetic dentists practice specific procedures that are quite diverse in nature. General dentists deal with the prevention and treatment of common oral health issues, including routine cleanings, dental examinations, treatment of dental caries (cavities), composite fillings, root canals, and relieving the patient of pain caused by decay. Cosmetic dentists deal with the aesthetic issues related to tooth problems, including discoloration of teeth, restoration of cracked, chipped, or broken teeth, and replacement of missing teeth.
While both general and cosmetic dentists can restore chipped or cracked teeth, it is more likely that a cosmetic dentist will be consulted when the tooth involved is in the front of the mouth where it is highly visible. A dentist practicing cosmetic procedures can provide the patient with porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns to blend the restoration with the rest of the teeth, creating a natural looking smile.
General and Cosmetic Dentists: Equipment
Due to the sophistication of the dental procedures performed, cosmetic dentists often use state-of-the-art equipment that is not utilized in basic procedures. However, both general and cosmetic dentists keep up with changes in technology, securing modern devices to utilize in their dentistry procedures.