Difference Between Cosmetic Dentistry and General Dentistry

Difference Between Cosmetic Dentistry and General Dentistry

The start of a new year is a good time to reset your commitment to visiting the dentist twice a year.  But if you don’t already have a dentist that you like, it can feel daunting to get started.  One of the first things to consider is whether to look for a general dentist or cosmetic dentist.  Although there is some overlap between general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry, it will be easier to choose a new dentist if you have an idea of what you’re looking for. Read on for more information about the difference between cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry. 


What is general dentistry?

A general dentist is a primary dental healthcare provider who tends to the health of your teeth, bone, soft-tissue, joints, muscle, and everything else associated with your oral health.  General dentistry refers to dental procedures involving the evaluation of your oral health, detection of problems with oral hygiene, and diagnosis of oral disease, as well as preventative care, repair, and restoration. General dentistry services include:

  • Exams and X-rays
  • Dental cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Extractions
  • Root canals
  • Tooth replacements
  • Orthodontics
  • Oral appliances
  • Periodontal therapy
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • Minor cosmetic improvements

Much like a family doctor, general dentists receive a broad education and training that allows them to provide patients with a wide range of dental services.  Many general dentists pursue additional education and training that allows them to specialize in a particular area. 


What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry involves procedures that are specifically designed to improve the aesthetic appeal of the teeth and gums.  A cosmetic dentist has the same educational foundation and training as a general dentist. But a cosmetic dentist has also chosen to pursue additional training in the field of cosmetic dentistry, allowing them to specialize in more advanced cosmetic dental procedures. Cosmetic dental procedures include:


  • Teeth whitening 
  • Dental veneers 
  • Composite dental bonding 
  • Dental crowns
  • Dental inlays and onlays
  • Dental crowns
  • Teeth shaping
  • Invisalign orthodontics

Although a general dentist may be able to perform some of the same procedures, the specialized training cosmetic dentists receive helps them to achieve the most radiant, natural, and aesthetically appealing results. 


Looking for a new dentist? We’re here for you!

At Smile Designers in San Diego, our team provides a full range of oral health and cosmetic dental needs. Our spa-like atmosphere features comfortable massage chairs, serene interior design, music and movie entertainment options, and state-of-the-art dental technology. Every member of our dental team provides top-notch service and high quality care from the moment you walk in the door. For more information about our cosmetic dentistry or general dentistry services or to schedule a consultation, give us a call at (619) 222-6000 today.