Looking in the mirror, you realize there are issues with your teeth you want to correct, but you’re not sure where to start. Do you need to speak with a cosmetic dentist or an orthodontist? Knowing who to turn to for your unique issue is important, as not all oral specialists are the same. Cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics differ in quite a few ways. Let’s discuss the differences so you know which expert to turn to for your specific needs.

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry essentially gives your smile a makeover. It addresses various cosmetic areas such as:

  • Veneers
  • Crowns
  • Teeth whitening
  • Implants

Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or resin that fit over the teeth to help improve the color, shape and overall look of the teeth. Crowns, or caps, are perfect for teeth that are weak or damaged. They fit snugly over the weakened tooth to help strengthen the hold it has on the gums. Implants differ from crowns and veneers in that they are titanium replacements for your teeth and are inserted directly into the bone. Finally, one of the most popular forms of cosmetic dentistry is teeth whitening. This service utilizes a specialized whitener, which is applied to the teeth to give them a brighter appearance.

What Is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics differs from cosmetic dentistry in a number of ways. The field of orthodontics seeks to correct misaligned teeth and improperly positioned jaws. It fixes a number of issues, such as bite problems, spacing and crowding issues, and problems with jaw growth. By utilizing various tools, orthodontists can correct these problems. Appliances primarily used by orthodontists include:

  • Braces
  • Invisalign: Removable aligners
  • Expanders, Headgears and other orthopedic appliances
  • Retainers

To put it simply, orthodontics corrects issues that deal with tooth alignment and bite problems.

Cosmetic Dentistry vs. Orthodontics: The Difference

As you can see, these fields are not one in the same. Orthodontics corrects the fundamental issues with how the teeth are positioned in the mouth, whereas cosmetic dentistry seeks to achieve a better look for the teeth themselves. Orthodontics addresses deeper issues, such as how the teeth have erupted in the mouth and how the jaw has grown, seeking to improve upon any issues that are caused by this. You would not want to seek the help of a cosmetic dentist if your issue runs deeper than the surface.

Speak with your dentist about your concerns to find the best option for you. Chances are, your dentist will be able to refer you to an orthodontist or a cosmetic dentist they trust to address any and all issues that you have with your smile. Remember, don’t expect an orthodontist to whiten your teeth, just like you wouldn’t expect a cosmetic dentist to apply braces. Both have very different skill sets and education, so choosing the right professional team for the job is necessary for you to achieve the smile you desire.

Let the team at Charleston Orthodontic Specialists help you achieve a spectacular smile! Call (843) 4-BRACES to learn more.