If something needs to be repaired in your smile, you can typically go to a cosmetic dentist to have it repaired. However, in some cases, it may be better to look for a prosthodontist. Speak to your dentist before making any final decisions, but here are some tips to guide you toward the right type of dentist depending on the issue you want repaired:
1. Discoloured, chipped and misshapen teeth
If your teeth are stained or yellow, a cosmetic dentist can fix the issue easily by bleaching them. These professionals can also fill and smooth chipped teeth through bonding and even reshape teeth that are too pointy or long through shaving or contouring.
2. Missing or Worn Teeth
Cosmetic dentists can also deal with missing or worn teeth. Using crowns, veneers and bridges, they can fill gaps in your mouth, make worn teeth look healthy again and complete your smile, as can prosthodontists.
If you simply need a bridge or a veneer, a cosmetic dentist can handle the work easily. However, if you have any structural or extreme bite issues, you may want to turn to a prosthodontist to do the work instead.
They can help you assess how missing structures from your jaw or palate are going to be affected by your crowns or veneers, and then, they can help you make the right reconstructive decisions in light of those considerations.
3. Missing Teeth Due to Congenital Absence
If you are missing teeth due to a congenital absence, that means you were born without those teeth waiting to erupt -- they simply didn't ever form.
A cosmetic dentist can address that issue with crowns or bridges, but before moving forward, ask about their experience with working with someone who has missing teeth due to congenital absence. If possible, ask to see before-and-after pictures of other patients with similar issues. Also ask if those patients experienced any later issues with bite or jaw functioning.
If you opt to see a prosthodontist for your teeth issues, they have studied head and neck anatomy, the function of the occlusion bones, TMJ and other issues that relate to full mouth reconstruction. Because of that, they can help you make a decisions about whether it will hurt your mouth and its ability to function if you add artificial devices.
As a general rule of thumb, the more the cosmetic work you need is tied to bite and jaw issues, the more likely you are to need a prosthodontist. However, in most cases, a cosmetic dentist can provide exactly what you need.