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Cosmetic Dentistry vs General Dentistry: What’s the Difference?

Published on April 27th, 2023

Cosmetic and general dentistry are vital aspects of oral health care, but they differ in their focus and goals. General dentists focus on the prevention and treatment of oral diseases and conditions.

Meanwhile, cosmetic dentists work to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your teeth. In this article the oral care experts at Chicago Dental Solutions consider the differences between these practices.

What are these differences, and why would you decide to visit a cosmetic dentist for care? Continue reading to learn more about general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry.

What is the Difference between Cosmetic and General Dentistry?

General dentistry deals with diagnosing and treating dental issues, such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay.

General dentists provide services like regular checkups, cleanings, fillings, root canal treatment, and extractions. They may also provide some cosmetic treatments, such as teeth whitening.

On the other hand, the primary goal of cosmetic dentistry is to provide patients with a beautiful and confident smile. Cosmetic dentists offer a range of services like teeth whitening, veneers, bonding, gum reshaping, and orthodontic treatment.

What’s the Difference between Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry?

Restorative dentistry is a subset of general dentistry that aims to restore the function and appearance of damaged or missing teeth. Restorative procedures include bridges, crowns, dental implants, and fillings.

The primary goal of restorative dentistry is to ensure that patients can eat, speak, and smile comfortably. Alternatively, cosmetic dentistry prioritizes improving the appearance of your teeth.

Some cosmetic procedures, like veneers and bonding, may also restore the function of damaged teeth. However, cosmetic dentistry is focused on aesthetics, primarily.

Why Would Someone See a Cosmetic Dentist?

There are many reasons to see a cosmetic dentist. You may decide to visit a cosmetic dentist to:

  • Reduce staining, discoloration, or yellowing.
  • Fix chipped, cracked, or misshapen teeth.
  • Close gaps between teeth.
  • Straighten crooked teeth.
  • Replace missing teeth.

What Services Do Cosmetic Dentists Provide?

Cosmetic dentists offer a range of services to enhance the appearance of teeth, including:

  • Teeth whitening: This is a popular cosmetic treatment to remove stains and discoloration from teeth, leaving them whiter and brighter.
  • Veneers: These are thin shells of porcelain or composite material placed over the front of teeth to improve their appearance.
  • Bonding: This is a procedure in which a tooth-colored, resin material is applied to the surface of a tooth to improve its appearance.
  • Invisalign: This is a teeth straightening procedure that uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually shift teeth into their desired position.
  • Orthodontic treatment: This includes traditional braces, clear aligners, and other appliances that can straighten teeth and correct bite issues.

Do Cosmetic Dentists Fill Cavities?

While cosmetic dentists may offer some restorative procedures like fillings and crowns, this is not their primary specialty. Typically, general and restorative dentists diagnose and treat cavities.

What Type of Dentist is Best for Veneers?

Veneers are a cosmetic treatment requiring a high level of skill and expertise to perform. It’s recommended that you see a cosmetic dentist with extensive experience in placing veneers.

However, it’s also vital to note that veneers may not be the best treatment option for everyone. In this case, your general dentist may recommend that you visit a restorative or cosmetic dentist for your needs.

Can a Cosmetic Dentist Extract Teeth?

Some cosmetic dentists may be trained to perform extractions. However, this is not within the scope of their practice, in general.

The primary focus of a cosmetic dentist doesn’t include performing complex oral surgeries or extractions. If you require a tooth extraction, it’s recommended that you consult with your general dentist for a recommendation for the best oral surgeon for your needs.

Find Your Cosmetic Dentist at Chicago Dental Solutions

To find the best cosmetic dentist in Chicago for your needs, reach out to our team today. We have professional cosmetic dentists in our Lakeview, Chicago office, in our River North, Chicago cosmetic dentistry office, and in our Midway location.

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American College Of Prosthodontists