Can A General Dentist Do Cosmetic Dentistry?

A: Absolutely a general dentist can do cosmetic dentistry. You’ve got to trust them, you’ve got to know them. I think it’s important that they show you cases that they’ve taken care of before and have a database of patients that have been happy with them.

Cosmetic dentistry encompasses any number of solutions—it really depends on what you specifically are looking for. Cosmetic dentistry can include things like Invisalign or invisible braces. Anywhere from veneers all the way up to full mouth rehabilitation. Those are all solutions that not every dentist or even cosmetic dentist is comfortable with.

We here at Vela dental take care of a large array of options for patients. So, we’re able to align teeth if we think that’s best. We’re able to install cosmetic veneers or crowns and we’re also able to do implants and full arch rehabilitation. That really can make a difference in the entire aspect of the smile, gaining function and more confidence.

Some dentists are just good at aligning teeth—and that’s great. If that’s your solution—awesome. Some dentists just love veneers. But, what we do here is run the gamut of all solutions that are available in dentistry today.

Cosmetic Dentistry From A General Dentist?

General dentistry and cosmetic dentistry both encompass a wide range of solutions that enhance your smile. However, there is a distinction between the two “branches” of the dental arts.

Cosmetic dentistry is the branch of dentistry that mostly focuses on well, the cosmetic appearance of your smile. It does not so much for the functionality or health of your smile. However, it can improve your emotional health.

Although it primarily deals with the superficial appearance of your smile, a beautiful smile does a lot for your self-image. The correlation of a beautiful smile with success and happiness goes back to ancient times. Symmetry, nice white teeth, uniform shape of the teeth, and the alignment are things people notice, consciously or not.

Even when our bodies aren’t as we’d like them to be or our hair isn’t thick enough, or we’re overweight—a smile transcends those woes. It is by far one of the most prized parts of our physical identity. It’s no wonder that cosmetic dentistry is such a popular option to enhance one’s physical appearance.

General dentistry, on the other hand, deals mainly with oral health, the function of your teeth, and the general mechanics of your mouth. However, that doesn’t mean a general dentist can’t perform cosmetic dentistry treatments.

Since the American Dental Association doesn’t offer or require certification for cosmetic dentistry, it all depends on each dentist. There are plenty of treatment certification and education programs dentists can complete. A general dentist will typically offer only the services they’re comfortable doing a good job at.

If you want to further explore the difference between general and cosmetic dentistry and how they can overlap, keep reading. We’ll discuss briefly what types of solutions each offer. Let’s take a look at cosmetic dentistry first.

The Art Of The Smile

At the root of cosmetic dentistry is a form of art, the art of the smile to be exact. This field of dentistry covers a wide range of options that makes you feel better by improving the appearance of your smile.

So, can it correct the gap in my teeth? It can mask it but not correct it. That is a job of an orthodontist.

Can it hide my cracked tooth? You never want to hide a cracked tooth, you want to repair it so, no.

I suffer from bruxism, what can cosmetic dentistry do? Nothing, you need to see a maxillofacial specialist.

Ok, so you probably get the point that cosmetic dentistry can’t correct functional problems. However, when you’re just dealing with something like discolored teeth, slightly misaligned teeth, or other minor surface issues—this is it!

Although the line between general dentistry and cosmetic sometimes overlaps, most cosmetic procedures serve no functional improvement. Here are a few treatments that fall within the wheelhouse of cosmetic dentistry all of which can make a huge difference—cosmetically.

Common Cosmetic Procedures

While there are many procedures and treatments involved with this field some of the most popular treatments include:

  • Veneers are thin sheaths of porcelain bonded to your teeth to hide minor imperfections related to shape or color. They are considered semi-permanent as they may need replacing after 10-15 years.
  • Crowns are used to hide imperfections as well but are stronger than veneers and therefore a more expensive alternative. This is one procedure that’s also under preventative dentistry since they can protect a cracked tooth from further damage. However, if the crack is too large, a crown is not an option.
  • Teeth Whitening uses dental-safe bleaching substances to white the surface of your teeth. It cannot, however, correct stains beneath the tooth surface. That is when you would opt for veneers instead. Tooth staining doesn’t usually happen overnight, it’s years of neglect and consumption of the usual culprits. Tobacco, coffee, wine, and other strong-colored substances stain teeth the easiest.
  • Dental Implants are another crossover treatment. They are classified as cosmetic because they aren’t medically necessary. However, at Vela Dental we do believe dental implants are a medical necessity. When you don’t use implants your jawbone deteriorates due to lack of stimulation. Over time, this causes many indirect health problems and functional issues. So, can you get by with dentures? Yes, but ironically, with dentures, you’re only using a cosmetic device with very little function.
  • Teeth Straightening of slightly crooked or misaligned teeth is considered a cosmetic correction. There is no threat to the function of your mouth with an issue that is slight like this. Treatment would include something like Invisalign. However, for more serious alignment issues you would want to see an orthodontist.

Form And Function Of The Smile

General dentistry is primarily focused on preventing and treating dental conditions. Typically, these cause some kind of discomfort such as a cavity, impacted wisdom tooth, chipped teeth, etc.

Other procedures within the scope of general dentistry include:

  • Extractions
  • Debridements and cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Root Canals
  • Treating gum disease
  • Fractured tooth
  • Crowns
  • Fluoride treatments

As you can see, the theme is something’s broken or let’s prevent something from breaking. That’s the short and simple explanation of general dentistry. Preventative care will consist of things like oral cancer screenings, routine dental exams and imaging, and proactive prevention.

We Cover All Of Your Dental Needs—Even Cosmetic!

At Vela Dental, you get the best of both worlds as Dr. Vela offers the full gamut of dental treatments for any issue. Whether it’s whitening your teeth or getting state-of-the-art dental implants—it’s all here.

Contact us today to book your appointment and let Vela keep your smile looking great!

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