A family and cosmetic dentist is a family dentist with additional training and certification in cosmetic dentistry. Family and cosmetic dentistry are two specialized branches of the dental care profession. A family dentist has extra training and experience in fields such as pediatric dentistry or geriatric care. Cosmetic dentists specialize in restoring teeth and improving their appearance. The goals of family and cosmetic dentistry include improved dental health as well as improved smiles.
General dentistry is usually focused on preventative care of the teeth, gums, and jaw. A general dentist can diagnose and treat many oral diseases and infections, take X-rays, and perform minor restorative procedures, such as placing fillings and crowns. They also give fluoride treatments and participate in training patients in good oral hygiene. General dentists may treat patients of any age. Some may choose to specialize in certain types of patients, such as children, adults, or the elderly. Others may broaden their practice to include family and cosmetic dentistry.
A family dentist usually has more training than a general dentist. For example, in the US, a dentist may pursue additional ADA-recognized certification in pediatric dentistry, which may take two or more years to complete in addition to general dentist training. Family dentists welcome patients of all ages, and may specialize in areas such as pediatric oral surgery or geriatric diseases of the mouth. Family dentists may also treat very young children.
Cosmetic dentistry is largely concerned with the appearance of the teeth and smile rather than the prevention of tooth decay and disease. Many general dentists have additional training in cosmetic dentistry and can perform simple procedures, though they may refer patients to a cosmetic dentist for more specialized procedures. Some dentists practice family and cosmetic dentistry exclusively, with a focus on aesthetic treatments. Cosmetic procedures for teeth include whitening, re-shaping, and the application dental veneers. Cosmetic dentists generally do not perform surgery or apply braces to straighten teeth.
Family and cosmetic dentistry combines preventative and cosmetic care. Family and cosmetic dentists can treat patients of all ages, and perform a broad range of procedures and treatments. Cosmetic dentistry for younger children is generally limited to repairing broken teeth, while some aesthetic procedures, such as whitening, may be performed on older children as well as adults. Many cosmetic procedures are unnecessary and done primarily for aesthetic reasons, while some cosmetic care is intended to protect or restore teeth, such as repairing chips or replacing fillings.