What's The Difference Between Restorative And Cosmetic Dentistry?

Restorative and cosmetic dentistry overlap a lot, but there are some key differences patients should be aware of. Knowing what sets them apart can help you make better choices regarding your dental care.

Below, check out these 4 major differences between these two essential dental care fields:

1. Their Purpose

Restorative dental care has the explicit goal of restoring a person’s oral health in case of dental damage. Whether it’s cavities, tooth infection, gum disease, or any other type of damage, these types of procedures will treat the issues and lead to a healthy smile.

Cosmetic dentistry, on the other hand, has the primary goal of changing the appearance of your smile to make it look more pleasing and even.

Of course, the lines can get pretty blurry in some cases. There are lots of restorative dental procedures that can also help improve how your smile looks, such as dental crowns. Conversely, there are cosmetic procedures that help support oral health, such as veneers that can strengthen a chipped or cracked tooth.

But broadly speaking, cosmetic and restorative procedures have completely different purposes.

2. Non-Negotiable versus Nice to Have

When it comes to restorative care, if a dentist recommends a procedure, it’s safe to assume you cannot afford to ignore their recommendation. You will always need restorative care because there is something wrong with your smile.

And sometimes, patients can experience very uncomfortable symptoms such as high levels of pain and swelling, which makes restorative care pretty much non-negotiable.

With cosmetic care, you can choose to have it or not based on how happy you are with your smile. You can have perfectly healthy teeth that are simply stained, discolored, or misshaped. These cosmetic issues don’t affect your oral health in any way, so you don’t necessarily have to get them fixed unless you want to.

3. Insurance Coverage

Because it’s elective, most dental insurance policies don’t cover cosmetic dental procedures, whereas most policies will pay for a variety of restorative care.

Some cosmetic procedures can be used to help address various dental health concerns, in which case your insurance may pay for them. But you will need to consult your policy to make sure.

4. Materials Used for Restoration

Lastly, the types of materials used in cosmetic restoration can be different than those used to restore oral health.

In restorative care, the focus is placed on using highly durable and affordable materials, which may not be aesthetically pleasing, such as metal crowns. In cosmetic dentistry, the goal is to help the smile look as appealing as possible, so materials are chosen to match the desired color.

Get a Happy and Healthy Smile

Sarasota dentist Dr. Robert Miller can help you restore your oral health and improve your smile’s look without compromising either.

Book a dental consultation at Sarasota Bay Dental online, or call us at (941) 200-3723.