Many dental patients receive all of the care they need from a general dentist, but treatment from a specialist may be required for complex issues, such as infections, surgical soft tissue procedures, and grating. And while cosmetic procedures can require skilled an eye for detail and thorough considerations of dental health, cosmetic dentistry isn’t a specialty.
The nine dental specialties recognized by the American Academy of Dentistry include:
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
- Dental Public Health
What Separates a Cosmetic Dentist from a Specialist?
Specialists complete a post-doctoral degree that includes education in their chosen area of focus. To obtain a pediatric dental specialty, for example, a dentist completes a residency program where they study the specific musculature and development of children’s dental structures and treat patients with varying needs to hone their abilities.
As cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty, a professional who achieves a dental doctorate does not need to complete an academic program outside of their post-graduate degree. Because of their interest in creating beautiful smiles and supporting dental health, however, general dentists may use required continuing education courses to receive advanced training in materials and techniques that can provide excellent aesthetic results.
What about Dentists who Say they Specialize in Aesthetics?
Because many consumers do not understand that cosmetic dentistry isn’t a specialty, the increased marketing efforts of aesthetic services can be confusing and misleading. In some countries, general dentists are not permitted to use this language on their websites or marketing efforts, but the US isn’t this strict. If you decide to visit a dental office that offers cosmetic services, feel free to ask them about the doctor’s continued education and training in the use of certain material and technologies.
Ask us about Cosmetic Dentistry!
At Metrowest Family Dentistry, we offer cosmetic dental care to help patients feel their best. Our cosmetic dentist, Dr. Alan Heap, makes every effort to ensure patients have access to the best care possible by maintaining membership in professional organizations that promote the study of cosmetic dentistry. We welcome you to call our office and learn more about how we can help you achieve a beautiful smile.