What is the difference between restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry?

Until fairly recently, dentistry as a whole only used to address the health and function of your teeth, restoring smiles when they became damaged and working towards ensuring that patients could retain teeth for as long as possible. With more patients concerned with the appearance of their smiles, there have been an abundance of new procedures created designed purely to enhance the attractiveness of your smile. These are known as cosmetic dentistry treatments and there are an increasing number of patients choosing this type of dentistry each year.

Cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry are similar treatments but also vary. Today, we will outline the differences between these two branches of dentistry, so patients know which treatments can address their concerns.

Restorative dentistry

Restorative dentistry is generally considered to be anything that involves diagnosing dental problems and repairing the teeth and their supporting structures. Some of the most common procedures that can be considered primarily restorative in nature include:

  • Amalgam cavity fillings
  • Dental crowns
  • Dental bridge
  • Dental implants
  • Root canal therapy
  • Scale and polish
  • Gum grafting
  • Orthodontic treatments such as braces
  • Cosmetic dentistry

There are some types of dental treatment that are designed largely with the intention of making an esthetic improvement to the appearance of your teeth, so that you have renewed confidence in your smile.

Most dentists who offer cosmetic dentistry have completed extensive training in smile design and understand exactly how best to alter your teeth in order to help you achieve the smile that you have always dreamed of. Some of the most common procedures that are usually considered primarily cosmetic include:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Porcelain crowns
  • White cavity fillings
  • Dental bonding
  • Gum contouring
  • Dental implants
  • Orthodontic devices such as Invisalign
  • Tooth jewellery

How are restorative and cosmetic dentistry similar

Patients may notice that a few of the treatments offered by dentists appear on both lists. This is because many cosmetic and restorative dental procedures overlap. For example, dental crowns are most often used to restore the shape and strength of a patient’s teeth, so that he is able to bite and chew normally again.

However, while some crowns are made from metal, it is now possible to opt for crowns that are made from porcelain or porcelain fused to metal which can be color-matched to existing teeth and therefore are much more natural in appearance. In fact, they look so much more attractive that many patients with existing metal crowns choose to have them replaced with porcelain varieties – a purely cosmetic undertaking.

Ultimately, it is the reason for pursuing the dentistry that determines whether it is functional or cosmetic. If you seek a procedure purely to improve the way that your smile looks, it is absolutely cosmetic. However, if you are trying to address the way that you use your teeth, such as by getting a cavity filling to prevent toothache, then the procedure you have is functional.

It really doesn’t matter whether the dental procedure you are having is functional or cosmetic. What matters is that it helps you to achieve great dental health and a smile that you can be proud to share with the world – and we would be delighted to help. Call Jupiter Dentistry today to learn how we can improve the appearance and function of your smile with cosmetic and restorative treatments.

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