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

Cosmetic and general dentistry are two branches that differ in their focus and approach to dental treatment. While general dentistry aims to maintain the overall health and function of the teeth and mouth, cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of the teeth and enhancing the smile. While both types of dentistry are essential for maintaining good oral health, cosmetic dentistry is elective and not typically covered by dental insurance. In this article, we will explore the differences between cosmetic and general dentistry and help you understand when it is appropriate to consider cosmetic dental treatment.

Overview of Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is a branch that focuses on improving the appearance of a person’s teeth, mouth, and smile. It involves teeth whitening, veneers, crowns, braces, and more. These procedures can correct many issues, such as stained teeth, crooked teeth, gaps between teeth, and chipped or broken teeth. Many people undergo cosmetic dentistry to enhance their smile and boost their self-confidence. The results of cosmetic dentistry can be dramatic, and the procedures are typically performed by a team of dental professionals, including a dentist, dental hygienist, and dental assistants.

In addition to improving the aesthetics of the teeth and mouth, some cosmetic dentistry procedures can also have functional benefits. For example, someone with misaligned teeth may have difficulty biting and chewing, which can be corrected with braces. Similarly, a person with a chipped or broken tooth may experience pain or discomfort, which can be addressed with a crown or veneer. Overall, cosmetic dentistry can be an effective way to improve both the appearance and function of the teeth and mouth. It is important to note that while cosmetic dentistry can provide beautiful results, it is not a replacement for regular oral hygiene and care. It is still necessary to brush and floss daily and visit the dentist regularly to maintain good oral health.

Overview of General Dentistry

General dentistry is a branch that focuses on the overall health of a person’s teeth and mouth. It involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of a wide range of oral health issues. General dentistry procedures can include cleanings, fillings, extractions, and more. These procedures are typically performed by a dentist, a healthcare professional trained to diagnose and treat issues with the teeth and mouth. In addition to providing treatment for specific cases, general dentists also educate patients on how to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent future problems. This can include recommendations on brushing and flossing techniques, dietary advice, and the use of fluoride to strengthen teeth. Overall, general dentistry plays a crucial role in maintaining the overall health and well-being of a person’s teeth and mouth.

General dentistry is an integral part of overall healthcare, as the mouth’s health is closely linked to the health of the body as a whole. Poor oral hygiene can lead to various health issues, such as tooth decay, gum diseases, and even more severe conditions like heart disease and stroke. That is why it is so important to visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings, even if you do not have any immediate issues with your teeth or mouth. During a general dentistry appointment, the dentist will examine your mouth for any signs of problems and provide any necessary treatment. They may also take x-rays to get a better view of what is happening inside your mouth and to check for issues that may not be visible to the naked eye.

Differences Between Cosmetic Dentistry and General Dentistry

Generally, cosmetic dentistry is focused on restoring teeth to their natural appearance. General dentistry is focused on treating the entire dental system, including teeth, gums, and jawbone.

One difference is that general dentists are trained to treat all dental problems, from simple toothaches to more complex issues like oral health problems or dental implants. In contrast, a cosmetic dentist focuses on the aesthetic aspects of teeth and mouth instead of the underlying health issues. Thus, they use less invasive techniques such as dental veneers and tooth whitening to improve the appearance of teeth.

Another difference between the two fields is that dental generalists earn higher salaries than dentists with cosmetic training. They have many years of experience treating patients and are well-versed in dental health care. As a result, they can offer more services for better value for money compared to their counterparts in the field of cosmetic dentistry.

Standard Procedures in Cosmetic Dentistry and General Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is a branch that focuses on improving the appearance of a person’s teeth, mouth, and smile. Some standard procedures in cosmetic dentistry include teeth whitening, veneers, and bonding. Teeth whitening involves using bleaching agents to lighten the color of the teeth. At the same time, veneers are thin shells made of porcelain or composite material placed over the front of the teeth to cover up blemishes or imperfections. Bonding involves the use of a resin material to repair chips or cracks in the teeth.

General dentistry, however, focuses on the overall health and maintenance of a person’s teeth and mouth. Some standard procedures in general dentistry include cleanings, fillings, and crowns. Cleanings involve the removal of plaque and tartar from the teeth to prevent the development of cavities and gum disease. FillingsCosmetic dentistry | ADW are used to repair cavities, which are small holes that form in the teeth due to decay. Crowns cover and protect a damaged tooth and can be made of various materials, including porcelain, gold, and composite resin. Both cosmetic and general dentistry play essential roles in maintaining the health and appearance of a person’s teeth and mouth.

Other standard procedures in general dentistry include root canals, used to treat infected or damaged teeth, and extractions, which are used to remove teeth that are too damaged to be repaired. Braces and retainers are also used in general dentistry to straighten and align the teeth, while dentures and bridges are used to replace missing teeth. In addition, general dentistry may also involve the use of dental implants, which are artificial tooth roots that are surgically implanted into the jawbone to support a replacement tooth or bridge.

Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry and General Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry can offer several benefits, including an improved appearance and an increase in self-confidence. Procedures such as teeth whitening, veneers, and bonding can help to restore the natural beauty of a person’s smile and give them a more youthful and attractive appearance. In addition, cosmetic dentistry can also improve the function of the teeth, for example, by closing gaps between teeth or correcting misalignment.

General dentistry also offers several benefits, including the prevention and treatment of dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Regular cleanings and check-ups can help to identify and address any potential problems early on, while procedures such as fillings and crowns can help to repair and protect damaged teeth. In addition, general dentistry can improve the overall health and function of the teeth and mouth, for example, by straightening the teeth with braces or replacing missing teeth with dentures or implants. By maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking regular dental care, individuals can help to ensure that their teeth and mouth remain healthy and functional.


Cosmetic and general dentistry both focus on dental care for the oral cavity and oral health. However, there are several differences between the two. To start, cosmetic dentistry is a specific field that aims to improve the appearance of teeth. General dentistry can help with public dental health and oral care. While general dentistry can help improve oral health overall, cosmetic dentistry helps improve facial appearances, such as smile lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin around the mouth. If you want to know more about cosmetic dentistry, we encourage you to read this article from Dental Branding Magazine, which offers more information.

At Austin Dental Works, we understand that general dentistry is a valuable service. From dental cleanings and check-ups to filling and crowning procedures, our qualified dentists can help you maintain optimal oral health.

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