What is the difference between a Cosmetic Dentist and a Restorative Dentist?

Cosmetic Dentistry Is About The Appearance of Teeth and the Mouth

 Cosmetic Dentistry's Primary Goal is a Great Apperance

Cosmetic Dentistry's Primary Goal is a Great Apperance

While many descriptions or categories of dentistry overlap (family dentistry, general dentistry, restorative dentistry, comprehensive dentistry, aesthetic dentistry), cosmetic dentistry is truly focused on the appearance as opposed to the function or health of teeth.    Cosmetic dentistry concerns itself primarily with teeth color, position, shape, size, alignment and overall smile appearance though many procedures that are considered cosmetic can also be restorative.  Aesthetic dentistry is a term that is used interchangeably with cosmetic dentistry. Restorative dentistry is focused on restoring proper oral function and health.  This article will focus primarily on cosmetic and restorative dentistry and some of the basic differences between them.   


Teeth Whitening Is a Cosmetic Dentistry Procedure

A great example of cosmetic dentistry is teeth whitening.  This is the most popular and common cosmetic dentistry procedure.  Teeth whitening is a procedure that has no function or health benefit.  It is simply a cosmetic procedure performed to whiten teeth and improve their appearance, without any direct health or function benefit.  There is an argument to be made, however, that whitening a patient’s teeth improves their confidence and this is probably positive for overall health, well-being and certainly mental health.  A more confident person is a happier and healthier person. 


Dental Veneers Are Considered Both Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry

Another procedure that is often described as being primarily cosmetic is dental veneers.  They are ultra-thin shells that cover the front surface of teeth to make the teeth look better.  These are bonded to the front surface of teeth changing their color, shape, size or length.  Dental veneers are often used to correct teeth that:

·                     Have spaces between them

·                     Have become chipped or worn

·                     Are permanently stained

·                     Are poorly shaped

·                     Are slightly crooked

 While most people are impressed by the new and improved aesthetic appearance of teeth after placement of veneers, they too have some restorative functions as well.  For example, they can help stop or reduce teeth sensitivity and can also help with gum care.  Additionally, a veneer can help protect an existing tooth from damage.  Veneers are common among patients that wish to get a whole smile makeover. 

Dental Crowns Are Considered A Cosmetic Dentistry and Restorative Dentistry Procedure

Dental crowns fit the bill as being both cosmetic and restorative.   When a dental crown is placed, it replaces the outside of your existing tooth and becomes your tooth’s new surface.  This is often used to cover/restore damaged, decayed or unappealing teeth and restores proper function, spacing and also improves appearance of the tooth significantly. 

 Restorative Dentistry helps to restore your mouth's function and health

Restorative Dentistry helps to restore your mouth's function and health

Interestingly, most procedures considered restorative in nature also have significant cosmetic benefits as well.  One example of a procedure that is almost entirely restorative is a silver filling (as opposed to a white composite or porcelain filling) which is used to fill a cavity or tooth fracture or crack but is not considered to be appealing aesthetically.  It restores the tooth but does not necessarily do so in a way that looks the best.  This is one of the reasons our office does not use silver fillings.  Most patients nowadays only want white composite or porcelain fillings to meet both their restorative and cosmetic desires. 

There are other dental procedures that are both cosmetic and restorative in nature including dental bridges, Invisalign, braces, implants and more. 

Our Los Alamitos Dentist Is A Cosmetic Dentist, Restorative Dentist, Family Dentist,  Comprehensive Dentist, General Dentist And More

So what type of dentistry does our Los Alamitos dental office perform?  We do it all! 

If you are looking for a cosmetic dentist, restorative dentist, family dentist, comprehensive dentist, general dentist or any other description of dentist in or near Los Alamitos, Cypress, Rossmoor, Seal Beach, Garden Grove, Long Beach, Lakewood or Cerritos, we’ve got you covered.  We would love to help you with both your dental health and appearance! 

Give us a call today (562) 430-7310 or click on one of the “Request An Appointment” buttons throughout this website.