When it comes to improving the appearance of teeth, most people tend to lump the process into a single category. Many people might assume that orthodontics is only used when the position of a person’s teeth poses a medical threat, and that cosmetic dentistry is only used when a person is simply unhappy with the appearance of their teeth. While these assumptions do hold some truth to them, distinguishing orthodontics from cosmetic dentistry is not so black and white. There are several things that a person should take into account when deciding whether orthodontics or cosmetic dentistry is the best treatment option for them.
The field of orthodontics specializes in the alignment of the teeth and jaw. When teeth or the jaw aren’t aligned properly, it can be harder to brush teeth and keep them clean, and it can also cause stress on jaw muscles, resulting in pain in the jaw, head, neck and back. Orthodontists treat a number of different issues, including underbites, overbites, crossbites, overcrowding and spacing. Through different types of fixed and removable appliances, orthodontists can correct these issues, giving patients a healthier and better looking smile.
Cosmetic dentistry specializes in fixing the appearance of teeth, but does not necessarily repair functionality. Even though cosmetic dental issues may not pose a health risk, they can cause severe damage to a person’s self esteem and increase their anxiety in social situations. Cosmetic dentists aim to help people who are not happy with the appearance of their teeth, and they can fix a number of different problems. Some cosmetic dental issues include tooth discoloration, tooth misalignment and missing or broken teeth. Dentists can solve these problems through a variety of procedures, including tooth whitening, bonding, dentures, dental implants, veneers, crowns and bridges.
Comparing the Two
One of the biggest differences between orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry is the time it takes for each. Orthodontics is generally a slow fix, taking at least a year, while cosmetic dentistry is often times a quick fix, with some procedures completed in a day. While cosmetic dentistry may seem like the immediate solution for cosmetic issues, however, orthodontics is also an option. Insurance companies rarely cover cosmetic dental procedures, but many cover orthodontic treatments that provide some of the same results.