How Are Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry Different?


Your teeth impact many aspects of your life, more than you may realize. Speech, appearance, breath, eating, and overall health are all affected by your teeth and smile. General and comprehensive dental services care for your teeth’ health, but cosmetic and restorative dentistry are specialty areas that are important to achieving a beautiful, functional smile. Here are the differences between cosmetic and restorative dentistry and how they can improve your teeth and smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry Basics

Cosmetic dentistry focuses on the appearance of your teeth. Various dental treatments can change the appearance of your smile. While general dental care and orthodontic treatments can also improve how your teeth look, these treatments’ primary purpose is to correct and maintain your oral health, not for cosmetic services. Cosmetic dentistry is an elective procedure, the sole purpose of which is to change teeth’ appearance. Examples of cosmetic dentistry services include:

Teeth whitening – Bleaching or whitening agents are used to remove stains and brighten the teeth for a whiter smile. There are in-office or at-home options to whiten your teeth.
Cosmetic dental bonding – Dental resin is used in cosmetic dental bonding to change the teeth’ shape. This resin is white or color-matched to the tooth, repairing chips, cracks, stains, and other cosmetic issues.
Tooth-shaping or contouring – Teeth that are crooked or misshapen can be sculpted or contoured to appear straighter and more attractive.
Veneers – You can cover tooth flaws and improve your smile with veneers. These thin porcelain shields can transform the color and shape of teeth for a gorgeous smile.
Caps or crowns – Caps/crowns can be a restorative treatment for damaged teeth, but they can also be used solely for cosmetic purposes to cover an ugly tooth.

Regardless of your smile’s appearance, many options can dramatically improve the color, shape, and overall brilliance. Cosmetic dentistry can help you feel confident in your smile, and many treatments can be completed in as little as one visit.

Restorative Dentistry Basics

Restorative dentistry uses dental treatments designed to repair and restore damaged or missing teeth. A crown or cap to repair a severely broken tooth is an example of repairing and restoring a tooth’s function with restorative dentistry. However, restoring lost teeth is a critical component of restorative dentistry. Restorative procedures to replace lost teeth may include the following dental treatments:

Dental bridges – Using prosthetic teeth held in place by attachments to surrounding teeth, dental bridges replace one or more teeth.
Dentures – Both partial and complete dentures can replace missing teeth for restored chewing function and a better appearance.
Dental implants – the premier restorative dental option is dental implants, which are surgically placed into the jaw bone to function like natural teeth. Dental implants can replace individual teeth or be used to secure dentures in place.

Restorative dentistry replaces damaged or missing teeth to give patients back their complete smile. The results can help speech, chewing, and regular function and improve the face and smile’s aesthetics.

Both cosmetic and restorative dentistry can give you a more attractive smile, and often treatments from both specialties are used in a smile makeover. To learn more about improving the health and beauty of your smile, schedule an appointment at Nishan Halim DMD in Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.



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