Many of us are conditioned to believe that all the actors in the ‘beauty industry’ are people are modest education. Their work is, after all, just to make people look good and feel good about themselves – and that doesn’t require much education; or does it?
It therefore usually comes as a great surprise to the uninitiated to learn that for one to become a cosmetic dentist, they need strong grounding in general dentistry. Yet the attachment of the term ‘cosmetic’ to the professionals’ name will have created the impression, in the minds of the people who hold this persuasion, that the said dentists must be people of modest education/training.
Now in order to understand why the dentist needs a good knowledge of general dentistry, it is important to take into consideration the types of things that the said dentists do on a day to day basis. That is where we see the cosmetic dentist, among other things, having to apply high-powered dental bleaches (in a situation where the low-powered dental bleaches, which are also typically less effective, are applied by the patients themselves on a DIY basis). To do this, the dentist needs very specialized training, especially keeping in mind that laser technology is used in some of these applications.
On a day to day basis, the dentist will also find herself having to install dental veneers on people’s teeth. That would have been an easy task, were it not for the fact that the said veneers can usually not just be plastered atop a person’s teeth: a foundation has to be engraved, so that when they are eventually fitted, they look ‘natural.’ And engraving such a foundation on a person’s teeth can surely not be done by just any ‘beautician.’ It is one of the most challenging tasks in dentistry: hence the need for the cosmetic dentist to be very highly trained.
We also see the typical dentist, on a day to day basis, having to do a lot of teeth realignments. The cosmetic dentist may also be called upon to do some teeth replacement jobs (as lost teeth usually have considerable impact on the looks of the person who happens to be bereft of them). All those are things that require a lot of training in general dentistry.
In fact, it can be asserted that the dentist needs knowledge in virtually every area of dentistry. He needs some understanding of orthodontics, to deal with the teeth alignment issues explained. He needs some understanding of prosthdontics, to deal with the teeth replacement issues explained. He needs a good understanding of other branches of dentistry, to identify other cropping dental problems, and deal with those, before embarking on the cosmetic treatments (which is what professionalism in this field demands).
In the final analysis, it is easy to say that cosmetic dentistry, which seems simple to most people (perhaps on account of semantics alone), is in fact one of the most challenging areas in dentistry; hence the need for the cosmetic dentist to be well grounded in general dentistry.