Orthodontics is considered to be a part of the larger topic of cosmetic dentistry. The term encompasses all sorts of procedures that are meant to make your smile brighter, straighter, whiter and in general more pleasant but does not actually deal with the health of the actual teeth in question. Now this is a bit tricky; after all, orthodontics are used because teeth stay healthier when they are straight and when they can be used according to their function. Still, the main advantage of a straight and evenly aligned smile is first and foremost aesthetic in nature; it looks good, can boost your confidence, and makes your teeth easier to clean, which also has medical and aesthetic benefits. Nonetheless, the realm of orthodontry is lumped in with that of cosmetic dentistry.
Solutions May Differ
The real difference between cosmetic dentistry and orthodontry, then, is one of respective functions. While orthodontry changes the alignment and position of teeth (which can be argued to be cosmetic or preventative or general dentistry, depending on where you draw the lines for arbitrary concepts), it does not change much else. If any other aspect of the appearance of your teeth need to be changed, like the size, shape or color of your teeth, then you need a different form of cosmetic dentistry.
How To Decide
It is a very easy thing to decide which sort of procedure you will need. Stand in front of a mirror and smile. Now ask yourself the question: do you like what you see? If the answer is yes, then great! Go to your next scheduled dentist appointment, and if they mention the need for either cosmetic dentistry or orthodontics, take it with a grain of salt, see what they want to change, and decide for yourself if that would be an improvement or not.
If you do not like what you see, ask yourself what would I change in order to get something I would like to see? If the problem is that your smile is crooked, you need orthodontic intervention. If your problem is that one or two teeth stick out or are at a different angle than the rest, that can also be solved via orthodontics.
If the problem is that you don’t like the appearance of your teeth, the size shape or color of them, then you can either get a whitening session or veneers to solve your problem. It’s that simple.