Aesthetic Dentistry vs. Cosmetic Dentistry | Walnut Creek, CA

Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance but not always the function, of a person’s teeth, gums and/or bite. Many dentists refer to themselves as “cosmetic dentists” no matter their specific education, specialty, training, and experience in this field. The American Dental Association (ADA) does not recognize cosmetic dentistry as a formal specialty area of dentistry. However, there are still dentists that promote themselves as cosmetic dentists.

There are only 2 dental specialties that mainly focus on dental aesthetics or cosmetics. They are: Prosthodontics and Orthodontics and such specialists are called Prosthodontists and Orthodontists respectively.

Many use the following reasoning regarding Aesthetic Dentistry and Cosmetic Dentistry. In Aesthetic Dentistry the dentist is more focused on restoring teeth to their normal appearance as found in nature.  Whereas with Cosmetic Dentistry the focus is on improving the color, shape or arrangement of teeth to make things look better to the eye of the beholder. This can often mean that the teeth “look fake”. Preferably, all dentistry should be aesthetically pleasing especially where front teeth are concerned.  This means you should look as good as, if not better than, before the treatment.

Conservative Cosmetic Dentistry vs. Traditional/Aggressive Cosmetic Dentistry

Instead of categorizing procedures into “cosmetic” vs. “aesthetic”, a better way is to distinguish between first, tooth friendly (minimally invasive / conservative) cosmetic dentistry and second, traditional (aggressive) cosmetic dentistry. Tooth-friendly cosmetic dentistry generally does nothing irreversible to the teeth. This means treatments such as tooth whitening, resin bonding, or short-term orthodontics, where the results are reversible. These types of treatments are unlikely to jeopardize your long-term dental health. Normally the aim is a big improvement but not true perfection.

In contrast, “traditional” cosmetic dentistry can include porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges – or anything else that involves drilling away a significant volume of otherwise healthy tooth. These treatments carry with them a need to be re-done every so often and usually are also associated with an increased risk of the treated tooth requiring root treatment in future. The key factor here is once you have them, you are stuck with them for life.

Make an appointment today with Dr. Barmby and Dr. Frick at (925) 934-5526 or visit our website to discuss your vision for your “perfect” smile and hear what options are best suited for you.

Dr. Barmby and Dr. Frick also proudly serve Alamo, Concord, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, and surrounding areas.

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