Many people assume all dentists are the same, but the reality is that there are actually several different types of dentists, all with different specialties. Cosmetic dentists and general dentists are two of the most common options. Though they both help patients with teeth, they specialize in entirely different areas. Understanding the differences between cosmetic dentistry vs general dentistry will help you pick the right type of dentistry for your needs.

What Does a General Dentist Do?

To learn about the difference between these types of dentists, it is helpful to understand what a general dentist is. A general dentist is a broad term that covers a variety of dental offerings. The main thing you need to know about any general dentist in Boca Raton is that they focus on keeping your teeth healthy. General dentists are the type of dentist you go to whenever you feel pain or notice something is wrong.

This type of dentist specializes in helping people get healthy teeth. They focus on things like preventing or removing cavities and improving enamel strength. General dentists are the type of dentist most people visit for their routine cleanings and fillings. The most common procedures that dentists do include filling cavities, extracting damaged teeth, and performing root canals.

Woman Sitting in Dental Chair at Medical Center While Professional Doctor Fixing Her Teeth

What a Cosmetic Dental Specialist Does

A cosmetic dentist still cares about your teeth’ health, but that is not their main area of specialization. Instead, a cosmetic dentist works to help you improve the appearance of your teeth. They try to help people achieve a straight, white, natural-looking smile. You can usually talk with them about your aesthetic goals and get recommendations on helpful procedures.

You might end up searching for “best cosmetic dentist near me” if you want to improve your smile and boost your self-confidence. Cosmetic dentists often provide services like teeth whitening, porcelain veneer application, and implants. They can also help patients with missing teeth, so they may offer procedures like fixed implants or denture fittings. Some may assist with noninvasive tooth straightening options like Invisalign.

What Makes the Two Types of Dentistry Similar?

Since a strong, healthy tooth is often visually appealing, there is a lot of overlap between cosmetic dentists and general dentists. Consider a situation that involves tooth loss. While losing a tooth is a medical problem that can cause pain or trouble eating, it also changes the way you smile. Therefore, you might need help from either type of dentist.

The most common procedure that a cosmetic or general dentist will do is a filling. Depending on the expertise of the dentist you pick, your filling might look the same after work from a general or cosmetic dentist. Both types of dentists also assist in procedures for replacing teeth, such as dentures, tooth implants, or bridges.

For simpler cosmetic and health procedures, either dentist will have the training to help a patient. Both types of dentists can do regular checkups and tooth cleanings. Generally, you can go to either sort of dentist for things like tooth whitening or dental crowns. The end results may look identical as long as you pick a quality dentist.

Differences Between Cosmetic Dentistry Vs General Dentistry

The main difference in general dentistry vs cosmetic dentistry is simply their training and area of focus. Much like a plastic surgeon vs a general surgeon, a cosmetic dentist is concerned with aesthetics. On top of general dentist training, they have specialized training in procedures for improving teeth appearance. Cosmetic dentists may have additional degrees, licenses, and association memberships that general dentists do not need.

If you go to a cosmetic dentist for assistance, they will ensure the final result both looks and feels great. For example, if you needed a filling, a general dentist might just apply a metal filling that covers the sensitive inside of the tooth and restores strength. Meanwhile, a cosmetic dentist would still remove infection and reduce pain, but they would use a tooth-colored resin that was carefully shaped to mimic the look of your natural tooth.

While there is a lot of overlap in the types of services offered by general and cosmetic dentists, there are some procedures that only one specific type of dentist can do. A cosmetic dentist may not have the experience needed for more intensive dental procedures like root canals. Since their main focus is the surface of the tooth, they do not do much with gums or tooth interiors. 

Meanwhile, a cosmetic dentist can perform many procedures a general dentist does not handle. More specialized options like fixing chipped front teeth or applying porcelain veneers are often left to a cosmetic dentist. When a patient wants a specialized procedure, they may find that only cosmetic dentists in their area offer the technique.

Dentist in Medical Mask Checking Patient Teeth With Mirror in Dental Clinic

Which Should You Pick?

Ultimately, the best option will really come down to your priorities. First, consider your health care needs. If your teeth are in very poor shape, you may need a general dentist in Boca Raton to get your teeth healthy again. Those who do not have any serious cavities or oral infections can usually pick a cosmetic or general dentist as desired.

Something else to consider is your end goal. If you do not care much about your appearance, there generally is no need to start learning how to choose a cosmetic dentist. However, if you want the brightest, most visually pleasing smile possible, you will typically need to look for a cosmetic dentist. Even though a general dentist might be able to perform the procedure, if you want the absolute best results, a cosmetic dentist is usually the better choice.

Price is not the deciding factor for most patients, but it is something to keep in mind as well. General dentists and cosmetic dentists often have fairly similar costs for identical procedures. On average though, a cosmetic dentist will cost more. They tend to be a bit pricier because they use higher-end materials that improve tooth appearance instead of just patching damage. 

Now that you know a little about the difference between cosmetic and general dentists, do you have an idea of which one is best for you? At Dental and Facial Aesthetics of South Florida, we pride ourselves on offering our patients the latest in cosmetic dentistry. Get the smile you have always dreamed of by calling us today to schedule a consultation.