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FAQs About Cosmetic Dentistry

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How is cosmetic dentistry different from general dentistry? Even though all dentists are mouth health specialists, a cosmetic provider has a different skill level, different training, and offers some different services than a general practitioner. If you're not sure which type of dentist will best meet your needs, take a look at the top cosmetic versus general dentistry questions.

What Is A Cosmetic Dentist?

This type of dental provider has extra training in cosmetic (appearance or aesthetic) procedures. But this doesn't mean they haven't gone to school to treat patients for general dental issues, such as cavities or gum disease. Like general dentists, cosmetic providers also need to complete college and a post-bachelor's Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) program. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dental specialists typically must complete a two to four year postdoctoral residency in their practice area. For cosmetic providers, this would include aesthetic dentistry or cosmetic surgery training and experience. 

Along with a dental school degree and the additional required specialized training, cosmetic dentists must follow their state's licensure guidelines. The specific requirements may vary by state—but most include a regional/state licensure exam (for general dentistry) and a specialty-specific exam. 

What Procedures Does A Cosmetic Specialist Offer? 

The cosmetic provider offers dental procedures that add to your overall appearance and help you to maintain a healthy mouth. These may include dental implants, dentures, bonding, whitening, veneers, bridges, periodontal (gum) plastic surgery, porcelain crowns, tooth-colored fillings, and repairs for chipped or cracked teeth. Some cosmetic dentists also offer botox injections to reduce the appearance of a gummy smile.

Why Should You Choose A Cosmetic Dentist?

Cosmetic dental services go beyond what a general dental practice may offer. Even though a general dentist will have experience in and knowledge of restorations (such as fillings and crowns), they won't have the specialized training necessary to makeover your smile. 

If you only need a routine cleaning and check-up or you have a minor cavity that requires a filling, you can visit your general or family dental practice provider. But if you want to go a step farther (or a few steps) and reshape your gums, repair past damage, change the color of your teeth, or completely upgrade your mouth's appearance, you should choose a cosmetic dentist. 

Are All Cosmetic Providers the Same?

Simply stated, no. Cosmetic dental providers vary in experience, knowledge, and the types of procedures they offer. Make sure your cosmetic provider of choice is licensed by the state and has the required amount of extra training in cosmetics. If you want to explore surgical options, your dentist should have a DDS after their name and the education/experience to match.

For more information, contact a professional like Dan Czapek, D.M.D.