When it comes to improving the look of your smile, who do you think is most qualified to perform the type of procedure you need? Whether it is porcelain veneers, cosmetic bonding, or Invisalign, you want a highly-skilled, artistic individual to provide you with quality, long-lasting results, right? While it might not always be easy trying to determine whether a general or cosmetic dentist can give you the smile of your dreams, allow us to help you identify which dental professional is best for your individual needs.
General vs. Cosmetic Dentist: What Are the Differences?
Dental care is completed by an individual who is licensed and qualified to perform certain procedures. It is your job to determine what type of work you want to be completed on your smile, and it is the job of the chosen dental professional to suggest proper services and treatment and be able to safely and effectively provide them to a patient. While this seems fairly easy, it can be difficult trying to decipher which type of dentist can help you improve your smile’s aesthetics.
Here are some ways to tell the difference between a general and cosmetic dentist:
- Training: Much of the educational background is the same for both a general and cosmetic dentist; however, the latter spends a few additional years studying and specializing in cosmetic dentistry treatments and procedures.
- Aesthetic vs. Preventive: A general dentist focuses on the health of your smile and addressing problems as they pertain to disease and decay. A cosmetic dentist is concerned about the appearance of your smile and fixing problem areas such as cracks, chips, stains, and discoloration.
- Artistic ability: General dentists don’t necessarily require an artistic viewpoint when helping a patient combat gum disease or tooth decay, but a cosmetic dentist needs a skillful hand to shape and sculpt composite resin when performing a cosmetic bonding procedure on a patient.
What Services Does Each Typically Provide?
If you are more inclined to decide who is best to provide your desired method of treatment by looking at which type of treatments each dentist performs, here is a more clearly defined list:
A general dentist offers:
- Checkups and Cleanings
- Gum Disease Therapy
- TMJ Therapy
- Tooth-Colored Fillings
- Root Canals
A cosmetic dentist offers:
- Porcelain Veneers
- Cosmetic Bonding
- Teeth Whitening
- Invisalign (Orthodontists are also able to provide this type of service)
- Inlays and Onlays
- Dental Implants (This may also require the assistance of a skilled oral surgeon)
Most general and cosmetic dentists are able to perform basic procedures, and both must have a general DDS or DDM degree. If you’re unsure a particular dental professional performs the treatment you need, simply call their office and inquire. It is also beneficial to spend time researching different dentists and learning more about their experience and background, as this will help you to choose the right one from the start.
About the Author
Dr. Greg Friedman entered private practice in 1990. Attending San Diego State University, he went on to complete his dental degree at Washington University’s School of Dental Medicine before spending one year at the world-renowned Barnes Medical Center in St. Louis for a General Practice Residency. Caring for patient smiles in San Diego, he and his team at Mod Squad Dental use the latest in state-of-the-art dental technology to transform smiles by improving their aesthetics and overall health. As a skilled cosmetic dentist, Dr. Friedman can perform a wide range of services from covering imperfections with porcelain veneers, brightening smiles with teeth whitening, and straightening teeth with Invisalign, To learn more about Dr. Friedman, visit our website or call (858) 547-0070.