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What’s the Difference Between a General Dentist and a Cosmetic Dentist?

Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry, General Dentistry, Smile Makeover

4 minute read

It is common to hear terms like general dentist and cosmetic dentist thrown around. Because they are both “dentists,” you may not realize that there is a fairly significant difference between them — even though many dentists offer both services.

So, what’s the difference?

General dentists provide necessary services to keep teeth and gums healthy, while cosmetic dentists specialize in aesthetics.

Beautiful woman smiling

What to Look for in a Cosmetic Dentist

If your teeth and gums are healthy, but you have cosmetic concerns, choose a cosmetic dentist who focuses on the beauty of your smile. This way, you know they have extensive experience with cosmetic dental procedures.

A good cosmetic dentist will offer the following services to provide you with all you need for the smile you desire:

  • Professional teeth whitening – In-office professional teeth whitening with a product like ZOOM! can have your teeth looking bright and beautiful in one dental visit. This treatment involves each tooth being coated with the ZOOM! whitening solution before it is exposed to a special activating light. This process is repeated up to four times for dramatic results and is often the first step in a full smile makeover (unless orthodontic treatment is needed). Whitening teeth before receiving crowns or veneers is recommended because the color of porcelain or ceramic restorations cannot be lightened once placed.
  • Dental veneers – This cosmetic treatment is versatile and can be used to cover teeth with intrinsic stains that resist whitening treatments, as well as teeth that are chipped, misshapen, worn down, or misaligned. They can also be combined with teeth whitening for a brighter and more uniform smile.
  • Aesthetic dental bonding – This treatment can be used to correct issues similar to those addressed with dental veneers at a lower cost. However, this option may not last as long as veneers.
  • Porcelain crowns – This dental restoration can restore a tooth with damage too extensive for a dental veneer to correct. While dental veneers only treat the fronts of teeth, a crown replaces the entire visible portion of a tooth.
  • Tooth replacement with dental implants – Dental implants are the most comprehensive method of tooth replacement. Unlike fixed bridges, which only restore the visible portion of the missing tooth, a dental implant replaces the tooth root for a stable and long-lasting solution to tooth loss.
  • Teeth straightening with Invisalign® – If you have crooked or misaligned teeth, Invisalign® dental aligners are a great way to straighten them without the need for metal braces. At the end of your Invisalign® treatment, you can use the aligners with a professional-strength teeth whitener for a straighter and brighter smile.

What to Look for in a General Dentist

A comprehensive general dental provider should offer a range of specialties to minimize the need for referrals. You will want to check their website and reviews to learn about their backgrounds, level of skill, and experience.

A comprehensive dental practice will have two or more dentists who specialize in one of the following categories:

  • Preventative care – The basics of general dentistry include examining the teeth and gums as well as assessing x-rays to determine the best approach to treat existing tooth decay, which may include fillings, inlays, onlays, or crowns. Preventive measures like sealants and fluoride treatments should be available.
  • Periodontal care – A periodontist maintains gum health and treats periodontal disease. Gum disease can lead to irritation, abscesses, tooth loss, and jaw bone degeneration. It is also linked to various systemic health conditions.
  • Endodontics – An endodontist treats the interior of teeth or “the pulp,” which contains connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. These dentists commonly perform root canal therapy to treat infected teeth.
  • Oral surgeon – An oral surgeon is a specialist who can perform complicated extractions such as wisdom teeth. While other specialists can place dental implants, this procedure is commonly completed by an oral surgeon.
  • Orthodontics – If your teeth need to be straightened, an on-site orthodontist is beneficial.

A Beverly Hills Cosmetic Dentist You Can Trust

Individuals who have a good general dentist often choose a well-respected cosmetic dentist when making improvements to the look of their smile. Dr. Kevin Sands has dental offices in Beverly Hills, California, to provide impeccable cosmetic dental care for his patients.

Known as the most connected dentist in Beverly Hills, you can see some of his famous clients here on his home page.

Dr. Sands is currently accepting new patients. Call our Beverly Hills dental practice today to book your appointment, or contact us online.