Cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics are two different dental procedures that serve different purposes. While both involve dental work, the outcomes of each are vastly different. Knowing the difference between cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics is crucial in deciding which one to opt for based on individual needs and requirements.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is a dental procedure that aims to enhance the aesthetic appeal of one’s teeth and smile. It focuses on improving the look, shape, size, color, and alignment of teeth, which in turn, boost confidence and self-esteem.
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
- Teeth Whitening: A non-invasive procedure that effectively restores the natural white shade of teeth by removing stains and discoloration.
- Dental Veneers: A thin shell of porcelain or composite material that is placed over the front surface of the teeth to improve their appearance, shape, and color.
- Dental Implants: A permanent solution for missing teeth that involves surgically placing an implant into the jaw bone, which then fuses with the bone and acts as an artificial tooth root.
- Dental Crowns: A tooth-shaped cap that is fitted over a damaged tooth to improve its strength, shape, size, and appearance.
- Invisalign: A clear aligner system that gently moves misaligned teeth into their correct position without the use of metal braces.
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a dental procedure that focuses on correcting the teeth and jaw misalignment with the use of braces, aligners, retainers, and other dental devices. The primary aim of orthodontics is to improve the alignment, bite, and function of teeth, which in turn, improves oral health and hygiene.
Types of Orthodontic Procedures
- Traditional Metal Braces: A dental appliance that consists of metal brackets and wires that are attached to the teeth to gradually shift them into their proper position.
- Ceramic Braces: A less visible alternative to traditional braces that are made of ceramic materials that closely match the color of natural teeth.
- Lingual Braces: A type of braces that are attached to the back of the teeth, making them invisible from the front.
- Invisalign: A clear aligner system that gently moves misaligned teeth into their correct position without the use of metal braces. This also falls under cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Which One to Choose?
Both cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics have their unique purposes and advantages. Choosing the right procedure depends on an individual’s desired outcome, their oral health condition, and personal preferences. An individual with crooked teeth may opt for orthodontic treatment to improve their bite and functionality of their teeth. Alternatively, an individual with yellow or stained teeth may choose cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening to restore their smile. In some cases, both procedures may be combined for optimal results.
What is the difference between orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry?
Orthodontics focuses on correcting the alignment and function of teeth, whereas cosmetic dentistry improves the aesthetics of teeth by enhancing their color, size, shape, and alignment.
How long does orthodontic treatment last?
The duration of orthodontic treatment varies based on the severity of the misalignment, but it typically takes between 18 to 24 months.
How long does cosmetic dentistry treatment last?
The longevity of cosmetic dentistry treatments varies on the specific procedure, but with proper oral care, most treatments can last up to 10 years or more.
What is the most common cosmetic dentistry procedure?
Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic dentistry procedure as it is non-invasive and provides instant results.
Cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics are both valuable dental procedures that improve the functionality and appearance of teeth. Orthodontics focuses on correcting misaligned teeth for improved function, while cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the aesthetics of teeth for a confident smile. Choosing the right procedure depends on an individual’s personal needs and requirements.