What are the differences between Cosmetic Dentistry and Orthodontics

The desire for perfect teeth is increasing in popularity and rightfully so. Everyone deserves to have a beautiful smile that not only boosts their self-esteem but also their oral health. And with modern dentistry, there are solutions which can suit everybody and fix almost any cosmetic complaint. You may have come across the terms cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics and wondered; “What Are The Differences Between Cosmetic Dentistry And Orthodontics? Aren’t they the same thing?”

The short answer would be no, although they do have a similar end goal. Correcting the imperfections of your smile and making them more aesthetically pleasing. However, they achieve this very differently. Unlike orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry offers a broad range of services. Slightly differing in their end results. It is worth noting that regular orthodontics focuses on correcting dental irregularities and is not considered a cosmetic treatment option. Which we will discuss as we compare the two.

In this blog post, we will look at the differences between cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics. Helping you make an informed decision as to what treatment is right for you.

Cosmetic Dentistry

What exactly is cosmetic dentistry? To put it simply, it’s any dental work focused on improving the appearance of the teeth, gums and smile. However, cosmetic dentistry can not only fix imperfections of the teeth. It can completely transform their aesthetics, giving the patient a smile they once only dreamed of.

This is one of the key differences between cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics. As well as the positioning and alignment, cosmetic dentistry can also improve and change the shape, size and colour of a patient’s teeth. Offering a wider variety of solutions to fix a cosmetic complaint.

There are four main cosmetic procedures;

  • Home bleaching
  • Direct resin bonding
  • Veneers
  • Crowns

If cosmetic dentistry offers so much variety, why would I need to consider orthodontics? Let’s look at the differences with orthodontics.

Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry focused on fixing malocclusions of the teeth. This includes misalignments and problems with their bite. The process works by using a brace to gently push and move a person’s teeth into a more natural position over time.

The benefits of orthodontics are extraordinary and offer life-changing results. However, treatment is much more effective in younger patients. Whilst teeth are developing they are much more flexible. Plus, many adults are put off by the idea of wearing a metal brace for the next few years.

Modern orthodontic treatment has found ways to significantly reduce the length of treatment allowing straightening the front teeth within six months. This is achieved using innovative treatments such as Six Month Smiles®. As a result, more and more adults are turning to the treatment as a solution to fixing misaligned teeth.

How does it work so quickly? You might have noticed we specifically mention the straightening of the front teeth. This is because solutions such as Six Month Smiles® focus on the patient’s cosmetic concern, as opposed to fixing malocclusions of the teeth. This is where the confusion usually lies when looking at the differences between cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics.

Short Term Orthodontics (STO)

Orthodontic treatment which solely focuses on a patient’s cosmetic complaint is referred to as short term orthodontics (STO). Traditional orthodontics is split into two stages, STO essentially only applies to the first one. The first stage is to de-rotate, level and align the teeth that might be out of position. Whilst the second one fixes malocclusions of the teeth, including misalignments and problems with the bite.

STO can provide an extremely effective solution for adults with crooked, spaced, or misaligned teeth.

Which treatment is right for me?

Now we have looked at the differences between cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics, what is the best solution for you? You’re not short of choices to what treatment can work for you, however, short term orthodontics can only fix one cosmetic concern. The alignment of the teeth.

Alignment of the teeth

If this is your main concern you have a fewer options to choose from. Either short term orthodontics or cosmetic treatment such as veneers. Which one is right for you is partly dictated by your preference.

If you want your teeth to remain exactly the same besides their alignment, STO might be a viable option. Veneers, on the other hand, can not only fix minor alignments but provide multiple other benefits. Including changing their colour, shape and durability. The main thing to take into account is treatments such as veneers require a very thin layer of the tooth’s enamel to be removed. We only remove around 0.5mm which is not dangerous in any way but is irreversible.

You will likely want to consider the length of treatment. Short term orthodontics typically takes 6 months, this can sometimes be longer or shorter. Which also consists of visits every 4 weeks to have your brace adjusted.

Veneers, on the other hand, can often be completed within a few sessions. Here at Revitalise, we have a dedicated onsite laboratory and team of professionals who can deliver your new smile within a week of starting treatment.

The final consideration would be the price. Veneers tend to be the more expensive solution. However, here at Revitalise, we offer a range of patient finance options to help spread the cost of your treatment. Financial worries shouldn’t be an obstacle when investing in your oral health and well being. We hope our patient finance will give you even more reason to smile.

Other cosmetic complaints

All other cosmetic complaints such as the colour, shade, shape or even damage of the teeth can only be fixed with a cosmetic procedure. In some cases, one treatment can fix multiple cosmetic concerns. As we mentioned above with veneers.

  • Whiter teeth can be fixed with home bleaching, veneers and direct resin bonding
  • Misshapen, missized, and unstructured teeth can be fixed with crowns, veneers and direct resin bonding
  • Damaged, badly decayed and gaps can be fixed with direct resin bonding and crowns

Can Cosmetic Dentistry And Orthodontics be combined?

Everything we do at Revitalise is completely bespoke, this includes your dental plan. In some cases, it is best to combine both cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics to ensure successful and long-term, cost-effective treatment. In severe cases of crooked or misaligned teeth, it is pivotal to fix these issues before proceeding with cosmetic treatment.

Crooked and misaligned teeth present further problems besides a cosmetic concern. Chances of tooth decay and gum disease are increased as they are much harder to clean. There is also the risk of an unnatural bite which can cause damage to your teeth and gums.

For this reason, it is best to use orthodontics to ensure the teeth are straight and in a more natural position before changing the way they look. Cosmetic treatments could mask these issues from an aesthetic point of view, but the underlying health concerns will still be present. If a patient’s bite isn’t correct, treatments such as veneers and crowns are prone to damage.

It is also a possibility after orthodontic treatment for gaps to be left between the teeth. Over time the teeth will shift back into an unnatural position and you will require further treatment. Cosmetic options such as direct resin bonding and veneers can close these gaps ensuring the teeth remain in their new, straight position.

When you choose Revitalise for your treatment, we will provide a full dental health check to ensure there are no underlying dental problems. From here we can put together your bespoke plan, combining cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics if necessary.

Find Out More

When it comes to improving the aesthetics of your smile, there is no right or wrong choice. Providing there are no health implications which could hinder treatment, the decision is ultimately in your hands. Whether you choose short term orthodontics or a cosmetic procedure, Revitalise will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.

If you would like to discuss any of the treatment options in more detail, why not book a consultation. Here we can find the best solution to discover your new smile.

About the author

Author

Jason Smithson is an internationally renowned cosmetic and reconstructive dentist formerly of London’s Harley Street Medical District, he is now based in St Agnes, Cornwall where he offers dentistry, dental-education and medico-legal expert witness services. World-class crowns, veneers and direct composite resin artistry are delivered with uncompromising standards bespoke to the patient’s individual requirements. He is considered to be the ‘Dentist’s Dentist’ and regularly treats other dentists; many of whom travel from throughout the UK to see him. Dr Smithson is an ‘In Demand’ presenter and is perhaps the most prolific in the UK. He is considered by his peers to be an authority on aesthetic dentistry and has presented to audiences on every continent over the past 10 years. He is a true innovator and pioneered the use of Dental Operating Microscope in teaching Direct Resin Artistry to other dentists in the UK; he is the author of numerous articles and a book on crowns in aesthetic dentistry.

Connect with Jason Smithson on LinkedIn.

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