We all know that medicine has several branches, and branches of branches. What is not common knowledge is that dentistry has a diverse range of specialities too. For example, endodontists specialize in treating oral health issues related to the soft core of the teeth, which contains the tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. Unless you are referred to a specialist, the two main branches of dentistry you are likely to come across are general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. Read on to learn about the similarities and differences between the two.
Going to a general dentist is like going to your GP. General dentistry involves the overall care of your oral cavity including the prevention and treatment of diseases related to it. Cosmetic dentistry, on the other hand, deals with improving the appearance of your teeth and gums.
People tend to mix the two up as there is a considerable overlap between the two fields. Let’s have a look at each field individually to clear up any confusion.
What is General Dentistry?
General dentistry is the field of dentistry that deals with oral hygiene and diseases. If you experience any form of dental pain, your first port of call should be your general dentist. A general dentist typically provides services like:
- Root canals
- Tooth cleaning
- Fluoride treatments
- Gum disease treatments
In short, general dentistry deals with preventive, restorative, and dental health treatments. General dentists also provide services like tooth whitening and tooth implants that can fall under the purview of cosmetic dentists. We’ll look at this overlap more in detail in a bit.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
The field of cosmetic dentistry focuses on the aesthetics of your mouth concentrating on the appearance of your teeth and gums. While it may sound superficial at first, visiting a cosmetic dentist can play a huge role in how you feel about yourself. Being able to flash their teeth confidently makes people smile more, benefiting their self-esteem and overall happiness. Some of the services cosmetic dentists provide include:
- Tooth whitening
- Clear aligners
- Tooth and gum contouring
Cosmetic dentists can also perform all the services offered by a general dentist.
What Are the Qualifications held by General and Cosmetic Dentists?
No matter what kind of dental procedure you need, you want your dentist to have the right qualifications to carry it out. All dentists hold a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree which means they are qualified to carry out all kinds of dental health related procedures. General dentists can take extensive training programs to offer various cosmetic services along with more traditional ones.
The Overlap Between General and Cosmetic Dentistry
We’ve established that general dentistry is concerned with the health of your teeth and gums while cosmetic dentistry is focused on improving appearances and that cosmetic dentists are qualified to carry out the same work as a general dentist. Commonly the work carried out by general dentists is also aesthetically oriented which makes the lines between the two branches a little blurry. This is where the intent behind the procedure can play a role in whether it is covered by your dental insurance or not (along with other factors, of course).
Dental implants, for example, may be a cosmetic or a medical procedure. If you have a tooth taken out and simply have an implant put in so that it doesn’t hamper your smile, then it may be considered a cosmetic procedure. However, if you need dental implants to help you chew your food properly and prevent other teeth from moving, then it would be a medical procedure.
Similarly, veneers may be applied for cosmetic purposes or to protect cracked teeth from further decay.
General and Cosmetic Services from Guildford Family Dentistry
The best part about having a cosmetic dentist carry out general procedures is that you are guaranteed to have an aesthetically pleasing finish. At Guildford Family Dentistry, we offer a wide range of general dental healthcare services along with cosmetic services. We’re always happy to discuss your options with you when it comes to your dental goals to give you the best personalized care we can.
If you have any questions, or would like to book an appointment, please call our office at 604-581-2232 or email us at [email protected] We look forward to meeting you, and welcoming you to our practice!