Dentistry is about much more than visiting your dentist for a routine check-up. Dental care is multi-faceted and encompasses three distinct levels: preventative dentistry, restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. Each of these different approaches is unique and aims to care for the teeth in a different way. But what exactly is the difference between these types of treatment?
What is Preventative Dentistry?
Preventative dentistry is about caring for the teeth in order to keep them healthy and to prevent the need for future corrective dental procedures. Preventative care involves maintaining good oral health in the form of daily brushing and flossing as well as regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleans. This helps to minimise the risk of developing cavities, gingivitis, enamel loss and periodontitis, which require restorative dental treatment.
It is important to take responsibility for your own dental health by engaging in good oral health practices and combining this with regular visits to the dentist. This is the most effective form of preventative dentistry.
What is Restorative Dentistry?
Dental procedures are sometimes required to treat decay or damage in the mouth. This is known as restorative dentistry. This branch of dentistry is different to preventative dentistry in that it seeks to correct dental problems that are already in existence. The aim of restorative dentistry is to restore the appearance and function of teeth.
Some of the common reasons for which patients seek out restorative treatments include tooth decay, chipped or cracked teeth, missing teeth, discolouration, misaligned teeth and gaps in teeth. There are many treatment options to correct these problems and your dentist may recommend fillings, crowns and bridges, dental implants or dentures, among many other possibilities.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry generally refers to any kind of dental work that improves the appearance of a person’s teeth without being an essential procedure. The primary aim of cosmetic dentistry is to improve the aesthetics of a person’s teeth, gums or bite. It deals specifically with the overall appearance of the smile including the colour of the teeth, alignment, position, shape and size and also the appearance of gums.
There are a variety of cosmetic procedures available that are appealing to many people. The most popular procedure is tooth whitening in which teeth are bleached to remove stains and appear brighter. Other common procedures include tooth reshaping in which parts of the enamel are removed to improve the appearance of a tooth, gum lifting and veneers.