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What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And A Cosmetic Dentist?

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Are cosmetic dentists just a regular dentist that offers specific services? Or are all dentists cosmetic dentists if they do anything to improve your smile? Oftentimes when we visit the dentist, we have a specific reason for doing so—so it’s not often that we stop to consider what type of dentist we might need to visit, but rather, we think about what services we need. 

To clear up some of the questions you might have around cosmetic and ordinary dental services, let’s talk about what cosmetic dentistry actually means, and what makes a dentist able to offer cosmetic services.

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is essentially any dental procedure which is designed to improve the appearance of your smile. Maybe that’s brightening your teeth, straightening them, or helping them look more uniform through other procedures (e.g. bonding broken teeth).

In all cases, cosmetic dentistry is geared toward helping you feel more confident about your smile. With that being said, depending on the procedure, some cosmetic work (like crowns) might also be considered restorative because they help bring your teeth back to health and prevent future damage in addition to improving how your teeth look. 

What Dental Procedures Are Considered Cosmetic?

Some of the main cosmetic dental procedures you may have heard of are:

  • Crowns – encasing a damaged tooth in a new artificial tooth
  • Dental bonding – fixing chipped, stained, or cracked teeth with a composite resin
  • Veneers – thin porcelain layer adhered to original teeth designed to perfect a smile
  • Teeth whitening – removing stains from tooth enamel to brighten a smile

What Makes a Dentist a Cosmetic Dentist? 

Most family dentists in Canada can also be considered cosmetic dentists. Although sometimes a cosmetic dentist undergoes further training in addition to their training as a general dentist in order to serve patients in areas specifically related to smile improvement, additional training is not required to offer cosmetic dental services. 

Some family dentists may not offer certain cosmetic dental procedures however (like veneers), so it’s important to check what services a dentist offers before walking in to have cosmetic work done, only to find that the dentist you came to see is not able to accommodate you.

Why Is Orthodontic Work Not Considered Cosmetic Dentistry?

Orthodontic work is a form of cosmetic dentistry performed by dentists who have undergone further training. While orthodontic work can certainly have a cosmetic effect on your smile, it is primarily concerned with straightening your teeth and aligning your jaw. 

Orthodontic work requires a significant amount of movement to take place in your mouth and as such, is more corrective as opposed to simply aesthetic. Orthodontic training is also considered a specialty by the Canadian Dental Association, meaning dentists must take an advanced education program in orthodontics in order to offer patients those services.

The focus of orthodontics is the treatment of irregularities in the teeth and jaw. While orthodontic treatments often result in a nicer looking smile, their specific goal is to create a healthy bite, as opposed to specifically focusing on improving the aesthetics of the teeth. While there is quite a bit of overlap between cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics, they are specifically different types of dentistry.

Make an Appointment with a Cosmetic Dentist Today

If you’re looking to have some cosmetic dental work done, you need a dentist who can offer you advice that’s tailored to meet your needs. Dr. Ferhana Jaleel is a trained cosmetic dentist who can help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Don’t put off booking your next appointment. Give Fairlawn Dental a call today!

Dr. Ferhana Jaleel

Written by Dr. Ferhana Jaleel

As a dentist in the Ottawa area Dr. Ferhana Jaleel has been practicing full-time general dentistry over 25 years and expertly cares for patients of all ages.

To ensure that she provides patients with the best quality and most advanced care, she continually upgrades her knowledge and skills. This continued education covers topics on cosmetic and reconstructive periodontal surgery, aesthetics including Lumineers®, orthodontics, Invisalign®, placement and restoration of dental implants, and many others.

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