The Difference Between a Cosmetic Dentist and Orthodontia

Teenagers and adults have more choices for correcting misaligned or otherwise unsightly teeth than ever before. Standard metal and wire braces are still a popular and sometimes necessary choice for correcting certain dental issues, but cosmetic dentistry offers some other choices for creating a beautiful smile quickly and easily. If you're not sure which choice is the best for you, note a few differences between cosmetic dentistry and orthodontia so you can discuss your options with a dentist.

Orthodontia Versus Cosmetic Dentistry

The first thing to understand about cosmetic dentistry versus traditional orthodontia is that a cosmetic dentist corrects the appearance of the teeth, not their actual alignment. An orthodontist straightens teeth or misaligned jaws and does not deal with any other cosmetic issues.

In some cases, severely misaligned teeth might cause jaw pain, headaches and other such health concerns, or they might be so misaligned that they cannot be addressed through cosmetic procedures. For those patients, traditional wire braces and other teeth-straightening procedures are necessary. However, slightly misaligned or crooked teeth might be covered with caps, veneers or other cosmetic procedures, making them look straight and even.

Health Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

While cosmetic dentistry doesn't fix misaligned teeth, many such procedures offer dental health benefits for patients. For example, if your crooked teeth cause discomfort when eating, caps and crowns or a cosmetic bonding procedure might alleviate that discomfort. Teeth that rub against each other might be drilled down and covered with a cap, reducing the risk of enamel damage.

Caps and crowns might also cover broken teeth with jagged edges, reducing cuts and scrapes along the inside of your cheeks. Cosmetic procedures might also cover teeth with damaged or worn enamel, reducing the risk of tooth breakage and chips.

Other Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

One advantage of cosmetic dentistry over traditional braces is that many cosmetic procedures are completed in just a few sessions, or even one appointment. Many cosmetic procedures are also far less uncomfortable than traditional wire braces. Plus, you don't need to suffer through the embarrassment of wearing braces when you choose cosmetic procedures.

Cosmetic procedures can also whiten teeth and make small teeth seem larger and more attractive. You might feel less self-conscious when you meet new people or give presentations at the office when you choose cosmetic procedures, making them an excellent choice for anyone with unsightly teeth or an imperfect smile.