Understanding the difference between a general dentist, a cosmetic dentist and a prosthodontist can help you to choose your dentist based on your actual oral health needs.
You might need to get some dental work done and start wondering what kind of dentist you should see. So you may ask yourself: “Should I visit a general dentist, a cosmetic dentist or a prosthodontist?” The answer will depend on the type of dental issue you are dealing with.
For example, you will most likely see a general dentist if you are in pain or if your problem mainly has to do with preventive care. If you are mostly concerned about the look of your smile, you may go for a cosmetic dentist, but actually the best option in this case would be to see a prosthodontist. Why is that? In this article we will tell you!
Cosmetic Dentist, General Dentist & Prosthodontist
Typically, a general dentist and a cosmetic dentist have the same initial training and education. They both perform general treatments such as regular checkups, fillings and dental crowns. They can fix cavities and repair teeth. You can also get hygiene appointments and teeth whitening treatment in either type of office.
But there are other factors that set them apart that need to be taken into account.
Cosmetic Dentist, General Dentist & Prosthodontist: Training
However, while a general dentist mainly focuses on preventive care and routine treatments, a cosmetic dentist is also concerned with the look of your smile. By attending professional courses or programs, a cosmetic dentist acquires specific training on the field of aesthetics and develops certain skills that will help improve the appearance of your teeth.
This is why cosmetic dentists are supposed to be better trained to perform aesthetics-related treatments such as bonding, porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, or smile makeovers.
Cosmetic dentists try to provide you with good oral care while giving you a white, fresh and natural smile. For example, when getting a posterior (back) crown, a cosmetic dentist will try to make the cap look beautiful so that it contributes to the general aesthetics of your mouth, even if you or others can see it or not.
Cosmetic Dentist, General Dentist & Prosthodontist: Experience
Aside from training, day-to-day experience is another important aspect to take into account during the decision making process. Cosmetic dentists are usually better trained than general and family dentists in aesthetic cases because they perform these dental procedures all day long, on a diverse pool of patients.
To put it bluntly: It’s not the same to do a couple of full mouth veneer cases a year versus one case a week. As with any other profession, practice makes perfect.
Cosmetic Dentist, General Dentist & Prosthodontist: Cost and Quality
Cost and quality are other factors to consider when deciding what type of dentist you should visit.
Usually, both general and cosmetic dentists charge similar fees. There might be a slight variation in prices, but these differences may have to do with the materials used or the doctor’s added training.
A cosmetic dentist will probably suggest you to have your dental work done with materials that preserve the look and the aesthetics of your smile; i.e. utilizing better bonding supplies or superior dental laboratories for your porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns. As a result, you may pay a few more bucks for that procedure. But that difference will not be significant.
Cosmetic Dentist vs. General Dentist vs. Prosthodontist
If you are interested in getting a dazzling smile, you may be thinking: “A cosmetic dentist could be a good option for me”. But, even though both prosthodontists and cosmetic dentists perform similar procedures and they both take care of patients who need cosmetic and restorative treatments, there is an important difference between a prosthodontist and a cosmetic dentist.
According to the American Dental Association, “prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes”.
While cosmetic dentists are general dentists who have attended seminars and courses in cosmetic dentistry, prosthodontists are specialists recognized by the ADA who have obtained, after three extra years of university training, a postgraduate certificate in prosthodontics. As a result, they are the most qualified professional to take care of both the correct function and the best aesthetics of your mouth.
In general, prosthodontics specialize in more involved procedures and tend to perform more complex restorative and cosmetic cases.
The Most Common Prosthodontist Procedures
In the last few decades, dentistry has witnessed amazing developments in techniques and materials. Thanks to these innovations, prosthodontists can make your smile look perfectly natural.
There are many different procedures that can be used depending on your specific needs. Prosthodontists can perform regular cosmetic procedures such as:
- Teeth Whitening
- Teeth Bonding
- Porcelain Veneers
- Porcelain Crowns
- Smile Makeovers
But they are specially trained in restorative and reconstructive treatments as well. They are the most qualified dentists when it comes to repairing or replacing damaged or missing teeth and taking care of maxillofacial tissues. Some of the procedures prosthodontists use when restoring the function and the look of your teeth and gums include:
- Dental Implants
- Dental Bridges
- Dentures and Partial Dentures
- Full Mouth Rehabilitations/Reconstructions
Since prosthodontists are highly qualified professionals, they also deal with complex treatments that require a team of specialists as well as temporomandibular joint disorder syndrome (TMJ/TMD), injuries caused by traumas or accidents, sleep apnea, snoring and other sleep disorders.
Why Should I Visit a Prosthodontist Near Me?
If you are not sure about what type of dentist you should visit. Remember that all these aspects are important to the overall health, look and functioning of your mouth.
Sometimes, you may find yourself taking shortcuts to cope with your dental problems in the short term. But why not get the chance to see a dental professional who can provide you with comprehensive oral health care in the best possible way?
Bottomline: if your main concern is aesthetics, probably your best bet is to see a cosmetic dentist or, preferably, a prosthodontist, who’s a specialist with postgraduate education recognized by the American Dental Association. You can’t go wrong with that.
Also, when you choose a dentist, you need to find someone who can not only keep your mouth functioning well and healthy, but also achieve the best aesthetic result for your smile.
If you want to learn more about the difference between cosmetic dentist vs general dentist, feel free to email or call Rohrer Dental Wellness Center at
Phone: (561) 404-7360