Cosmetic And General Dentistry: What’s The Difference?

by | May 20, 2022

Do you have a loose or broken tooth? Maybe you think veneers will improve your self-confidence? Or perhaps you need an annual check-up. But, how do you know if you should see a cosmetic dentist or a general dentist?

What Is General Dentistry?

The field of general dentistry focuses on the health of your teeth. Dentists in this branch educate patients young and old on caring for their teeth. Regular check-ups and proper tooth and gum care will prevent future dental and health issues. 

If you are experiencing tooth pain, you will typically visit a general dentist. Typically, general dentistry procedures include:

  • Fillings
  • Root Canals
  • Dental crowns
  • Extractions
  • Implants
  • Preventative care

Some general dentists also perform cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening. 

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

A cosmetic dentist focuses on improving the look of people’s smiles. General cosmetic dentistry requires dentists to take additional courses and be accredited by the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. 

Because a cosmetic dentist focuses on your appearance, they also offer teeth whitening procedures. However, they provide many services that general dentists don’t and include the following. 

  • Complete smile makeovers
  • Veneers
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Implants
  • Dental Restoration

Examples Of Cosmetic And General Dentistry Procedures

Now that you know the difference between cosmetic and general dentistry let’s explain what each procedure is.

Regular Checkups With A General Dentist

Your overall health needs to have yearly checkups with your general dentist. At these checkups, a dentist looks for gum issues, cavities, and any abnormalities. 

Teeth Cleaning With A General Dentist

Dental cleanings are generally part of your yearly checkup. During your cleaning, the dentist assistant will scrape, which removes plaque and cleans your gums. The dentist will then examine the teeth and address any issues.

Filling Cavities In General Dentistry

One of the most common procedures in general dentistry is filling cavities. Getting a filling will stop a cavity from worsening, which can result in tooth loss. 

Root Canals In General Dentistry

Some general dentists have special training in the interior health of teeth. As a result, they can perform root canals. During a root canal, dentists remove the decayed tissue from inside your tooth. Afterward, your dentist will seal the hole to prevent further issues. 

Teeth Whitening In General Cosmetic Dentistry

A cosmetic dentist is specially trained in teeth whitening. Sometimes called bleaching, teeth whitening in a cosmetic dentist’s office can achieve optimal results because of the higher concentration of whitening components. 

Veneers Through A Cosmetic Dentist

Veneers are very popular because they look most like your natural teeth. A cosmetic dentist attaches the veneers to the front of your teeth to cover discoloration. Veneers are generally durable and will last you a long time.

Braces And General Cosmetic Dentistry

Braces are also a service in general cosmetic dentistry. Teeth become misaligned for various reasons, and braces can straighten them again. While traditional braces are metal, Invisalign is clear and can be removed for short periods.

Does Cosmetic And General Dentistry Overlap?

Some dental procedures are often used in both general cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry. 

For example, tooth bonding is often used to fix a cavity. However, it is considered a cosmetic dental procedure.

Dentures, in general, cosmetic dentistry, are used to improve your appearance. But, a general dentist may use dentures to improve your bite or a speech issue. The same goes for bridges which are an alternative to dentures. 

Should I See A Cosmetic Dentist Or A General Dentist?

While general cosmetic dentistry focuses on the aesthetic look of the teeth, general dentistry treats and prevents dental health issues. However, they both can perform a variety of similar procedures.

Typically, if you are struggling with tooth or gum pain, you call your general dentist. But, your dentist may offer a variety of services that a cosmetic dentist also offers. If your dentist can’t help, they typically refer you to a cosmetic dentist.

General Cosmetic Dentistry Is An Art Form

Cosmetic dentistry has come extremely far in the last 20 years. Although science plays a significant role in the advances, so does artistry. Your smile is a big part of your appearance. For this reason, cosmetic dentistry needs to keep your uniqueness. 

Together you and your dentist plan and design a personal smile that will keep you smiling for many years to come. Cosmetic dentistry benefits include a natural, seamless, and long-lasting white smile. 

Is Cosmetic And General Dentistry Covered By Insurance?

According to the CDC, in 2019, half of Americans with private insurance also had dental coverage. However, dental insurance typically does not cover crowns, veneers, or dental bonding. 

When cosmetic dentistry is needed for restorative health, some insurance plans will typically cover a portion of the cost. Furthermore, a cosmetic dentist may charge more for things like fillings. This is because they are more concerned with your appearance and may use composite fillings. 

Discover The Services We Offer At Gardens Family Dentistry

We provide a wide range of services and dental treatments to meet the needs of your entire family. Contact us today to learn more about our services and make an appointment.