Cosmetic dentistry is a very popular term that is used by many dentists to distinguish themselves from other general dental practitioners.
I take exception to the use of this term as I feel that all dental treatment needs to be of the highest functional and cosmetic calibre. Certainly, dental treatment that is done especially on the upper front teeth has higher cosmetic needs than a last tooth; however these are dental skills that all dental practitioners need to incorporate. Occasionally, cosmetic dentistry can mean dental treatment that is done only to improve a patient’s appearance and this is often required for fractured, missing or severely discoloured teeth, however it can also mean extensive dental treatment and substantial loss of tooth material to correct a minor aesthetic concern and this is the type of treatment that concerns me greatly.
Dental treatment should be provided when there is a clear dental need: decay, fracture, or obvious discolouration. The treatment needs to be as conservative of tooth material as possible while still resulting in a functional, aesthetic, cosmetic result.
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