While general dentistry places a strong focus on preserving and restoring the health of the teeth, cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry focus on the appearance of the teeth. While the two practices are similar, there are some notable differences. Continue reading to learn the differences between cosmetic dentistry and aesthetic dentistry.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry places a strong emphasis on improving the appearance of the smile.
The goal of cosmetic dentistry is to help patients achieve the “ideal” smile with straight, white, and even teeth. In most cases, this is commonly referred to as the iconic “Hollywood” smile.
The treatment methods commonly used by cosmetic dentists include:
- Teeth Whitening: Professional-grade whitening gel is applied directly to the surface of the teeth. In most cases, the gel is loaded into personalized acrylic trays that are then inserted into the mouth.
An ultraviolet (UV) light is then aimed at the teeth. The light activates the gel and speeds up the whitening process to help the patient avoid extensive sensitivity after their whitening procedure is complete. The results of professional whitening sessions will vary from patient to patient, but a lightening of anywhere from 2-5 shades can be expected.
- Dental Veneers: Dental veneers are thin layers of porcelain or composite which are attached to the surface of the tooth to change its overall appearance. Dental veneers are popular with celebrities who want to achieve the most “perfect” smile possible. It’s for this reason that veneers are believed to be the best way to achieve the iconic “Hollywood” smile.
- Braces/Invisalign: Orthodontic treatment is completed with the use of traditional metal braces or Invisalign (a series of clear aligner trays that discreetly straighten your teeth). Correcting misalignment or crookedness in the smile is an important part of helping patients achieve a more visually appealing smile that they can proudly show off with confidence.
- Gum Contouring: Gum contouring is a procedure in which the natural gum line is altered. This is usually done to correct the look of a ‘gummy’ smile, helping patients feel more confident about showing off their smile.
What is Aesthetic Dentistry?
While cosmetic dentistry mainly focuses on improving the way the teeth look, aesthetic dentistry focuses on improving the function of the smile first, which also improves the overall look of the mouth.
Aesthetic dentistry is used to tackle problems like missing teeth or a gap in the smile line. Replacing missing teeth helps improve the overall function of the patient’s teeth, which simultaneously helps the patient feel more confident about their smile and ensures that they are getting the best use out of their teeth as possible.
Aesthetic dentistry encompasses the same procedures that are used in cosmetic dentistry, but it is done with a concentrated focus on the functionality of the teeth.
Examples of aesthetic dentistry include:
- Dental Implants: Dental implants are placed directly into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth. A dental crown is placed over the implant to resemble the crown of a natural tooth, while the implant itself mimics the natural roots. This helps retain bone structure while completing the smile line and improving the overall function and look of the patient’s teeth.
- Dental Crowns and Bridges: Dental crowns are protective caps that are placed over the top of the tooth. Crowns can be used to improve the function of the tooth, protect it from damage or decay, and improve the look of the tooth. Dental bridges are multiple unit crowns that are used to close the space caused by a missing tooth; two anchor crowns are placed in the mouth on the sides of the space, and space is filled by a ‘decoy tooth’ that is attached to the anchor crowns.
Should I Choose Cosmetic or Aesthetic Dentistry?
Choosing between cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry comes down to what you wish to change about your smile, as well as what your teeth need in order to function better as a whole.
Speak with your dentist to determine which treatments you would most benefit from. Designing a treatment plan with your dentist is the best way to have your questions answered and to learn more about how you can benefit from different treatments.
For more information about maintaining your oral health, or to book an appointment, give us a call on 02 8319 5557.