In the UK dentistry can be broadly split into two camps - general or cosmetic - and these days many more private dentists are offering both. Although some people will only visit the dentist when they are in pain and require immediate treatment most of us visit for regular check-ups and to ensure constant dental hygiene.
General dentistry comprises all oral procedures that are essentially non-cosmetic, such as inserting fillings and fitting bridges and crowns. When registering with a dentist for general treatment you will also normally have x-rays taken as part of the first consultation in order to give the dentist a clear picture of what's happening in your mouth in areas that can't be seen.
While having healthy teeth and gums should be considered essential, healthy teeth aren't necessarily good-looking teeth. Some people have natural winning smiles thanks to their genes but others may need a little help. That is where cosmetic dentistry comes in as it concentrates on the aesthetic qualities of your teeth; whitening, veneers, inlays & onlays, dental implants and cosmetic bonding are all examples of cosmetic procedures.
Teeth become discoloured because of everyday activities such as drinking coffee, tea and red wine, and in such cases it doesn't matter how much you scrub your teeth they will never become sparkling white. Teeth whitening is one of the easiest and cheapest cosmetic dentistry procedures, especially if done at home. Specialist cosmetic dentists also provide a full teeth whitening service at their clinics as well as a part home / part clinic solution.
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that could be considered to be cosmetic dentistry and concentrates on the correction of abnormalities of jaws and teeth; aiming to produce a healthy mouth which is then less prone to disease and boasts a healthy bite.
Many UK dentists now provide a mixture of both general and cosmetic dentistry, often treating patients through both forms of their craft. From the insertion of a must-needed filling to the process of teeth whitening both improve the look and performance of an individual's teeth and for many people it is irrelevant whether the treatment they receive is classified as general or cosmetic dentistry. For them, what really matters is a healthy mouth and a winning smile. If that can be achieved through a combination of good oral hygiene, timely general dentistry and a selection of cosmetic dentistry, then that is all that matters.
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