According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 65% of American adults between the ages of 18 and 64 visited a dentist in 2016. The number for children between the ages of 2-17 was higher at 84.6%.

The reasons for these visits vary from regular biannual check-ups to more comprehensive prosthodontic treatments to veneer placements. From this, it seems that when one needs dental work, they go to the dentist. But what kind of dentist?

Like other medical areas, dentistry is also diverse in the number of sub-fields and specializations. Out of these fields, general and cosmetic dentistry are the two most common ones people seek treatments in.

Both, cosmetic and general dentistry deal with similar issues like missing teeth, tooth decay or dental caries, cavities, broken or chipped teeth, misalignment, and general oral health problems.

Despite the fact that these two address similar dental troubles, there are differences when it comes to the delivery of treatments. Furthermore, there are also differences in the credentials and experience of the dentist along with overall costs.

In a nutshell, a general dentist is someone who focuses on preventing and treating oral diseases. A cosmetic dentist, on the other hand, focuses on the overall aesthetics and appearance of the teeth.

Knowing the difference between the two can help you identify which type of service or dentist is right for your dental ailment.

General Dentistry

Overall dental hygiene, diseases, and discomfort are associated with general dentistry. Consequently, the dentist addressing these issues is called a general dentist. They are the primary dental care provider.

When people graduate dental school, they start off as general dentists. Further training, residency programs, and schooling are required to specialize in one particular area of dentistry.

What do they do?

General dentists undertake the treatment for a wide range of common dental and oral problems. They are also the ones who perform regular dental examinations that keep your oral health in check. 

From cleanings, extractions, straightening, and alignment to root canals and cavity fillings fall under their capabilities. These procedures aim at fixing dental problems and pain stemming from these problems. Rosedale Smiles is an example of such a clinic where these services are offered.

But that’s not all that they do. General dentistry is also preventative. With regular dentist visits at least twice a year, they ensure that your teeth get cleaned to prevent caries and cavities from damaging your teeth which may lead to warranting restorative cosmetic procedures.

Is it more or less expensive?

Common, basic general dental procedures are more affordable and covered in most insurance plans. This is partly due to the fact that the materials and tools used for procedures are less expensive.

Another reason might also be that general dentists are more commonly available than other specialists.

This is why many general dentists end up taking on cosmetic dentistry as well. It adds to their already polished set of skills and expands the variety of services and dental problems they can treat.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Unlike general dentists, cosmetic dentists are trained to focus on both functionality and aesthetics of your teeth. While they can treat the dental problems that general dentists do, they use new techniques that improve the appearance of your teeth.

General dentists undergo additional training and education which includes specialization residencies to become cosmetic dentists.

What do they do?

Cosmetic dentists undertake treatments and procedures such as teeth whitening, realignments, braces, teeth replacement, etc. These procedures involve the use of fillings, veneers, crowns, dentures, braces, and Invisalign.

One of the most popular dental cosmetic procedures is tooth whitening. Discolored and stained teeth are one of the most commonly complained about dental issues. Hence, many people go to a dentist to improve their smiles.

Besides that, fixed implants, onlays and inlays, tooth-colored fillings, and porcelain veneers are other kinds of popular cosmetic treatments. Unlike general dentistry, some cosmetic dental procedures are elective.

For example, most patients don’t necessarily require veneers for functional reasons but still get them to improve their teeth’s appearance.

Is it more or less expensive?

Compared to common general dental procedures, cosmetic dentistry can be more on the expensive side. This also depends on where you live and whether your insurance plan covers it. 

Some materials used in cosmetic procedures like porcelain veneers and crowns etc. are also partially responsible for the increased price. Additionally, it requires the employment of a cosmetic dentistry specialist, which adds to the overall cost.

Final Thoughts

In the end, there is no definitive line of distinction between general and cosmetic dentistry. There are times when the two fields of dentistry overlap. For example, a tooth extraction warranted by excessive damage is in the jurisdiction of general dentistry.

Cosmetic dentist in Nottingham makes sure that the gap left behind is filled and your smile is restored to its original brilliance.

But being aware of the differences regardless can be beneficial when deciding what services you need.

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