Cosmetic vs. Reconstructive Dentistry
What’s The Difference?
Appearance vs. Health
Attempting to distinguish betweencosmetic dentistry and reconstructive dentistry is like comparing the water of Lake Superior, with that of Lake Michigan just by looking at it. Many dental procedures can be done for eithercosmetic or reconstructive reasons, or both. Insurance companiesgenerally will not cover purely cosmetic procedures.
At the Colonial Dental Group, we offer all types of reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. Two of our dentists, Dr. Dooley and Dr. Quezada, are graduates of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI). They have completed that intensive post-graduate course of work in both cosmetic dentistry and neuromuscular dentistry. That makes them highly skilled in evaluating your overall dental health and attractiveness, and adept at knowing how best to improve both.
When we first consult with you we can talk about your dental options, and our financing office can advise you as to whether your insurance will pay for them or not. When a cosmetic procedure is also being done for health reasons, they will often cover it. We work with CareCredit to help you make your dental work comfortable for your budget.
Cosmetic dental procedures improve the look of your teeth and enhance your smile, but it’s important to remember than beauty depends on good health. If your teeth and gums are unhealthy, restoring dental health will usually improve dental beauty.
Procedures done primarily for smile enhancement are tooth whitening and tooth contouring, which uses a laser to subtly change the shape of certain teeth so they fit better with their neighbors or with the opposing teeth on the other jaw. Porcelain veneers are a nice way to quickly take care of many small defects on front teeth, such as slight crookedness, small gaps or chips, and shallow cracks. Dental health is not threatened by these defects. Gum recontouring is also a cosmetic procedure. It uses a soft tissue laser to slightly change the gum line or amount of gum tissue, revealing more of the teeth. It is a quick way to correct a “gummy” smile.
Porcelain fillings are incomparably more attractive than metal fillings, but some companies will only cover metal amalgam fillings. Dental bonding is a versatile treatment that can correct many minor defects such as gaps, chips, staining and cracks. The dental bonding substance is also used for white fillings as an alternative to porcelain. We would need to discuss your dental needs and contact your insurance company to see what they might pay for.
Reconstructive dentistry restores function to damaged or genetically defective teeth. Many reconstructive procedures are desired for aesthetic reasons, but are covered by insurance because they are considered medically necessary.
Reconstructive procedures include dental implants, which are artificial tooth roots embedded in the jawbone to support porcelain teeth where the natural teeth have been lost. Endodontics (the dreaded “root canal” which used to make our grandparents tremble but is now as pain-free as any other dental work) is certainly reconstructive in nature. Dentures and partials are another way to replace missing teeth. Gum disease treatmentis entirely health-oriented.
Crowns are usually necessary when endodontics are done. We offer porcelain crowns but not gold crowns. Insurance companies may or may not pay for porcelain restorations, and we would have to talk with you about what insurance coverage you have.
If you have any questions about whether a procedure is covered or not, we will help you work with the insurance company. Their primary criterion is medical necessity. Some procedures you may want for cosmetic improvement may be covered if they are deemed medically necessary to improve or restore lost function. Pre-approval is usually required.
Our office serves Glenview, Illinois and surrounding areas on the North Shore. If you need reconstructive or cosmetic dental work, please contact our Glenview, Illinois and surrounding areas on the North Shore cosmetic dentist today to schedule an initial reconstructive consultation.