Generally, cosmetic dentistry can be considered as that which deals with the “appearance” of teeth rather than the health of teeth. However, the line between is often blurred and not necessarily so easy to define. What may look better could also be healthier. Obviously, much of cosmetic dentistry is based on personal needs, preferences and opinions.
Non-cosmetic dentistry is sometimes referred to as “aesthetic” because it implies restoring teeth to their formerly natural appearance; whereas, cosmetic dentistry seeks to improve on what nature has done in order to produce teeth that look better. Of course, when a tooth is damaged, either through accident or disease, some cosmetic application is required to “restore” that tooth to its former function, if not appearance. If a tooth cracks down into its root, is it cosmetic or functional to replace it with a crown? In many cases, a root canal and crown are used to save a tooth and not to beautify.
A definitive line could perhaps be drawn where a procedure is strictly limited to a desired outcome of appearance. For instance, using dental bonding material to reshape or sculpt a tooth and the placement of veneers may be solely cosmetic in nature. Dental bridges and dentures can be classified as prosthetics necessary for eating and a crown for tooth preservation. Perhaps, the bottom line question for us all could be, “Is it necessary for my health and the health of my teeth?” Should those perfectly fine amalgam fillings be replaced just because the newer tooth colored fillings look more natural; or, should they be replaced only if there is evidence of decay? These are the kind of questions that your dentist can help you address, based on your specific, individual, dental needs.
Posted on behalf of Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
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