General vs. Cosmetic Dentist: What’s the Difference?

Did you know that around 35% of the population skips their annual dental checkup? Visiting the dentist should never be an afterthought. Your yearly checkup is the best time to address concerns and get an update on your oral health status.

But people are often confused about which type of dentist to visit. Find out how a general dentist differs from a cosmetic dentist to make the right choice.

What Is General Dentistry?

A general dentist is your go-to for all things oral health-related. They deal with discomfort, aches, and general hygiene. If you’ve ever woken up with a throbbing pain in your mouth, you likely visited a general dentist.

General dentistry also handles routine cleanings, scaling, and polishing. Most general dentists also offer some light cosmetic treatments like whitening. But many don’t venture into the world serious of cosmetic dentistry.

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, general dentists are the ones to see. They can take x-rays, analyze them, and advise you on which dental procedure to pursue. They can also diagnose gum disease and different oral infections.

Most general dentists see patients of all ages, but some focus on specific groups. They offer a wide variety of services and recommendations for further treatment.

Which Services Does a General Dentist Provide?

A general dentist usually provides both restorative and preventative services. These two services are essential for the health of your teeth, gums, and smile! Common restorative services include:

Some of these services may overlap with cosmetic dentistry. That’s why many dental clinics offer both types of dentistry to their patients. General dentists also provide preventative services like:

General dentists can also supply referrals for orthodontists or dental specialists. Many dentists offer extended services like custom or athletic mouth guards.

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

While general dentistry addresses needs, cosmetic dentists focus on wants. Your smile is one of your greatest assets. It’s an essential first impression maker in the workplace and social settings.

Research also shows that smiling decreases the risks of depression and isolation. It can even improve self-esteem and boost your communication skills! So if you feel self-conscious about your smile, a cosmetic dentist is the solution.

Cosmetic dentists can reshape broken or misshapen teeth to give you a perfect set of teeth. They can also treat discolored, stained, and generally unhealthy-looking teeth. Cosmetic dentists provide both simple and intensive services to enhance the look of your teeth.

Which Services Does a Cosmetic Dentist Provide?

Your cosmetic dentist can create a treatment plan based on your goals. It might involve a complete makeover or some simple adjustments. Cosmetic dentists provide many services, including:

One of the easiest, fastest, and cheapest options for a smile makeover is bonding. Dental bonding uses resin (a putty-like material) to reshape teeth. This process can also fix cracks, chips, and spacing.

Bonding is an effective option for patients who want to make slight improvements. But if you’re looking for a complete makeover, then veneers are your answer! Veneers are delicate porcelain shells that fit over your teeth.

They can provide an all-over even look and whiten your smile. The process is usually completed over several appointments, and the results last for years.

Cosmetic dentists also offer restorative services just like general dentists. Crowns, implants, and bridges are typical procedures to fix decayed or missing teeth.

Finding a Qualified Cosmetic Dentist

Choosing a qualified cosmetic dentist is vital to getting the smile of your dreams. They should have the proper education and credentials to perform these services. Good cosmetic dentists spend a lot of time studying and perfecting their art.

But cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialism, according to the American Dental Association. That’s why choosing a cosmetic dentist with years of experience is crucial!

The best first step is to browse their website and check out their previous work. Most cosmetic dentists provide before and after photos of past clients. You should check out your potential dentist by browsing reviews to hear about first-hand experiences.

Finally, you should schedule a consultation to get a feel for their style and approach. If you need help choosing a cosmetic dentist, get the full information on

What About a Family Dentist?

Many general dentists choose not to treat children, while others have set age limits. A family dentist is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a dentist that accepts patients of all ages. Some family dentists even treat babies as young as six months!

What if I Need Braces or Invisalign?

Most of us go through the awkward teenage braces phase, and for good reason! Misaligned teeth can lead to a host of oral and physical health problems. The risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and digestion problems increases with crooked teeth.

If you need braces, the best professional to see is an orthodontist. They’re experts at creating perfect smiles and ensuring your bite is correct. Most orthodontists also offer Invisalign for those who don’t want metal braces.

But if you don’t have access to an orthodontist, some cosmetic and general dentists can provide Invisalign services. If you’re looking for this option, speak to your cosmetic dentist about your smile goals. They can offer an orthodontist referral or provide you with the service in their clinic.

Making the Right Dental Care Decision

Choosing the right dentist can be confusing if you don’t know where to start. A general dentist and a cosmetic dentist handle different aspects of oral care. A general dentist will provide pain relief, a few restorative procedures, and complete preventative dental care.

Meanwhile, a cosmetic dentist is your go-to for that glamorous Hollywood smile! Making the right dental care decision wholly depends on your smile goals.

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