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You’ve just arrived at your primary dentist’s office, and after a few minutes of consultation, you see him or her scribble a few lines on a note pad. Your dentist then hands you the paper and tells you to contact the dentist referred to in the note pad. You leave the office confused as to why your primary dentist couldn’t handle your specific needs. The note pad details the terms “Cosmetic dentist,” and now this gets you more confused about the difference between your general dentist and a cosmetic dentist. Don’t worry: in this piece, we aim at debunking the main differences between these two professionals and what they do.

Who is a general dentist?

A general dentist is an expert primarily concerned with the overall health of your teeth. He or she has the basic training in procuring preventative and curative measures of the gums, teeth, and mouth. It is okay to say that every specialized dentist must have been a general dentist at some point in their career. General dentists don’t have any specialties, but they are trained in the basic methods of taking care of the mouth.

Who is a cosmetic dentist?

A cosmetic dentist is mainly interested in the appearance of your smile and teeth. Although a cosmetic dentist can gauge the health of your teeth and gums and give you basic dental attention and care, he or she primarily focuses on ensuring that your smile and teeth look attractive. You may have guessed it from the term “cosmetic.” Therefore, a cosmetic dentist was once a general dentist who later specialized in cosmetic dentistry to earn the title.

What do they do?

A general dentist is skilled in practicing procedures such as evaluating the condition of your teeth, identifying problematic issues with the gums and teeth, and taking X-Rays. Your general dentist is also skilled at performing routine dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, filling cavities, root canals, conducting check-ups, filling missing teeth using bridges and crowns, and correcting the shape of teeth.

On the other hand, a cosmetic dentist emphasizes the appearance of your teeth, mouth, and gums. In recent years, cosmetic dentistry in New York has grown in popularity owing to the demand as more people want to change and improve their smiles and looks. Cosmetic dentists are trained to offer services such as braces, Invisalign, teeth whitening, crowns, bonding, veneers, and other restoration procedures that are geared at enhancing your smile. These additional skills in cosmetic dentistry require extra years of education, training, and practice after earning a degree in general dentistry.

What’s the difference between their educational backgrounds?

To become a general dentist, an individual must attend four to five years of dental school and graduate with either a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry degree or a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Both dental degrees are said to be the same thing. After graduation, you will be qualified to be called a general dentist.

While it’s okay to stick to general dentistry, some individuals choose to specialize in particular subsets under dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry is one of the subgroups that a general dentist may gain interest in and decide to pursue. It takes an additional two to eight years of continued education, training, and practice to earn a cosmetic dentistry certification. It takes longer to become a cosmetic dentist compared to a general dentist.

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Do Both Geberal and Cosmetic Dentists Perform Routine Teeth Check-Ups and Exams?

Cosmetic dentistry is a subset in general dentistry. Cosmetic dentists have the same basic skills and training that general dentists possess but with some extra education and capabilities. So, yes: both cosmetic and general dentists can perform routine teeth exams and check-ups. However, they differ in the scenario when these exams and check-ups are attached to some dental cosmetic treatment you are looking to procure. For instance, if you visit your cosmetic dentist for braces, your teeth must be cleaned and examined before the procedure. Your cosmetic dentist will handle the exam, preparations, teeth cleaning, and proceed to administer the dental cosmetic treatment. If you're still slightly confused, we recommend that you drop by this Dentist in Natomas for more oral advice.

Which should you visit?

We understand that many patients face dilemmas when deciding whether to go to a cosmetic dentist or general dentist. Your goals, concerns, and desires will help you make a decision. The above-discussed information will also help you make an informed decision.

In summary, you will visit your cosmetic dentist if:

  • Have yellow or stained teeth.
  • You have crooked or misaligned teeth.
  • You have an overbite or an underbite.
  • You have chipped, cracked, or missing teeth.

You are the perfect candidate for general dentistry practices if:

  • You need to clean your teeth and have them examined for better dental health.
  • You have cavities and decaying teeth.
  • You have a dental emergency.
  • You have missing teeth.
  • You have broken, damaged, and chipped teeth.

Generally, a cosmetic dentist will protect and enhance the aesthetics of your teeth as well as their health. A general dentist ensures that the condition and health of your teeth are in excellent state. Do you now understand why your general dentist had to refer you to a cosmetic dentist for your specific needs? The details in this piece take out the subtle differences between a cosmetic dentist and a general dentist.

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