What Is the Difference Between Dentists and Cosmetic Dentists?

What Is the Difference Between Dentists and Cosmetic Dentists

People may not recognize that there are differences between dentists and cosmetic dentists. Yet, there are differences and those differences could mean a lot if you are looking to have specific dental work done.

The differences can best be compared to a family doctor versus a plastic surgeon. They are both doctors but have different specialties. All cosmetic dentists are dentists but not all dentists do cosmetic procedures.

You must understand the differences so that you pick the right type of dentist to suit your needs for your teeth and mouth.

What A Dentist Does

A dentist’s priority is the health of your mouth and teeth. They can provide cleanings, exams, x-rays, and more complex procedures like fillings and root canals. The services a dentist provides will help the looks of your smile but they aren’t specific to make your teeth more visually attractive.

Having a regular dentist is important to keep up with your teeth health. Your dentist can address problems like tooth decay and cavities before they become serious problems. Sometimes, a procedure early on can prevent a problem from becoming a visual issue that affects the attractiveness of your smile.

What A Cosmetic Dentist Does

A cosmetic dentist specializes in procedures that make your teeth and smile look better. This includes things like veneers, implants, bleaching and can include some things like braces or clear braces since that involves improving appearance.

It can also include some of the other more complicated procedures like:

Inlays and Onlays

This procedure is used when the tooth is decayed too much to use a conventional filling. The fillings used in this procedure are made in a lab. Cosmetic dentists are the ones to do this procedure because it involves building up the decayed tooth and attaching the inlay and only to the tooth. These procedures are cosmetic, but also help tooth health because it prevents continued damage and decay. It also reshapes and strengthens the tooth.

Cosmetic Bonding

Composite bonding uses a material that looks the same as the tooth enamel to repair decayed, discolored, or damaged teeth.  It involves drilling out the decay, reshaping, and polishing the tooth. It can be a cheaper procedure that improves both the health and appearance of teeth.

Dental bonding is a procedure used to repair a broken, cracked, or decayed tooth. Here, the cosmetic dentist using a resin that matches the rest of the tooth that is durable plastic. A laser is used to secure the resin to the tooth, followed by the dentist reshaping and polishing it.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the replacement for lost or damaged teeth. They can look like natural teeth and help those with severe dental problems have a great smile.


Dental veneers are ceramic or porcelain products that look like natural teeth and are used to fix issues like crooked teeth, damaged enamel, and other products. They can also be a remedy for badly shaped and discolored teeth. These are usually done by orthodontists.

Most of the time, veneers are custom-made and thin. They are attached to teeth with an adhesive. This procedure is often used by older people who face problems like teeth that become weakened or discolored over time.

Cleft Palate Issues

While the bulk of these issues are handled by a surgical doctor, usually a plastic surgeon, a cleft pallet can also include a dentist to work with the teeth and gums.

Eventually, a cleft palate will deal with teeth and your smile. A cosmetic dentist will be needed to make sure your teeth and gums are suitable to work with palates corrected surgically.

Why Does a Pretty Smile Matter?

An attractive smile can do many things for a person. It was once reserved for Hollywood celebrities, models, or those in upper society. However, now people recognize pretty teeth and a nice smile can help all people in different ways.

It can build confidence in both young people and in adults who always were self-conscious about their smiles. Cosmetic dentistry can even improve their chances to get an upper-level job, help improve dating opportunities, and possibly get other opportunities through better interviews.

Is There a Difference in Insurance Coverage?

Typically, work done by a cosmetic dentist isn’t covered by dental insurance. That’s because it deals more with appearance than mouth health. However, some procedures can be pre-approved for coverage if it involves teeth health or medical mouth issues.


You should start by visiting a general dentist to get an overall view of your mouth health. The first step to great teeth is to keep up with routine procedures like cleaning and x-rays. Keeping your teeth healthy will help prevent diseases that affect the looks of your teeth.

However, those who want or need extra procedures to improve the looks of their teeth and smile should ask for a recommendation from a cosmetic dentist.

Cosmetic dental work can be expensive than regular dental procedures, but a cosmetic dentist can go over all their options to improve the looks of your teeth and create an action plan that’s best for you.

Dr. Arun Narang & Associates Smile by Design

Dr. Arun Narang & Associates practices dentistry for one reason: to give Mississauga residents more reasons to smile. Dedicated to providing excellent solutions and customer service, it is our goal to help ensure complete oral health for you and your family.

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