Is Orthodontics the Same as Cosmetic Dentistry?

There are both similarities and differences between orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. Oftentimes, we don’t differentiate between the two because our main goal is to have a more aesthetically pleasing smile. Both orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry can help you improve your smile, but there are some important differences you should know before embarking upon your journey.  

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics focuses on aligning your bite and straightening your teeth. If you are concerned with a gap between your teeth, twisted, or crooked teeth, an orthodontist should be your first stop to improving your smile. Orthodontic treatment, including braces, Invisalign, or retainers and appliances, can benefit children and adults alike. The American Association of Orthodontics presides over orthodontic practices and only dentists who have successfully completed an accredited orthodontic residency program after dental school are accepted for AAO membership. If your orthodontist is a member of the AAO, they are a highly educated specialist who can diagnose, prevent, and treat dental problems. 

What is cosmetic dentistry?

A cosmetic dentist can perform a variety of procedures that will improve your smile. Examples include dental implants, dental bonding, dental crowns, veneers, teeth whitening, and dentures. The Academy of Cosmetic Densistry (AACD) is the world’s largest organization for cosmetic dental professionals. You may be surprised to learn there is no requirement to enter the cosmetic dentistry field, and any dentist can claim to practice cosmetic dentistry. Therefore, it’s extremely important to verify the cosmetic dentist you choose is accredited by the AACD. 

Should I choose an orthodontist or cosmetic dentist?

In making the decision between an orthodontist and a cosmetic dentist, the most important questions to consider are what is your overall goal and how quickly do you want results. The primary appeal of cosmetic dentistry is the rapidness of results. Cosmetic dentistry can give you a young, beautiful, radiant smile while repairing issues on worn, cracked, and unhealthy teeth. Typically, cosmetic dentistry is used to correct problems that require quick attention. For example, a cosmetic dentist can quickly repair the damage of a chipped or broken tooth using a porcelain crown to cover it. If you simply need to whiten your smile or reshape them so that they all match, cosmetic dentistry can solve those problems.

Orthodontic treatments, on the other hand, focus on improving oral health by correcting bite and jaw issues. As a result of treatment, the patient’s smile will look significantly better than it did before. However, there is an even greater benefit to choosing orthodontic treatment, which is improving your overall oral health. While orthodontic treatment can be slower than cosmetic procedures, orthodontic treatment preserves the integrity of your own teeth. Cosmetic procedures can sometimes damage teeth – even healthy ones – to obtain a more appealing look. 

Since orthodontic treatment focuses on bite and jaw alignment, there are tremendous health benefits, such as improving jaw pain, difficulty chewing, or treating TMD and jaw pain.

To take the next step in determining if orthodontic treatment or cosmetic dentistry is best for your needs, contact Smith Orthodontics for your free consultation.