Cosmetic Dentistry vs. Restorative Dentistry: Understanding the Difference

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Having separate goals and focuses, restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry near you are two distinctive dental specialties. Although there may be a few similarities between the two, it’s important to recognize the differences while weighing all of your options for dental care. Let’s examine the differences between restorative and cosmetic dentistry.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is a subspecialty of dentistry that aims to make someone’s teeth, gums, and smile appear better. Cosmetic dentistry extends beyond general dentistry to improve the appearance of the teeth and the whole smile, whereas traditional dentistry focuses mainly on oral health and function.

Various dental issues, such as tooth discolouration, misalignment, gaps, chipping, and other flaws, can be addressed by cosmetic dentistry operations. These treatments are designed to meet each person’s specific requirements and objectives, with the end goal of achieving a unified, natural-looking grin.

Some common cosmetic dentistry methods include:

  • Teeth whitening: Removes stains and discolouration from the teeth, resulting in a brighter and whiter smile. This can be done through professional in-office treatments or at-home whitening kits.
  • Dental veneers: Thin shells made of porcelain or composite material that are bonded to the front surface of teeth to improve their color, shape, and overall appearance.
  • Dental bonding: Involves applying a tooth-coloured resin material to the teeth and sculpting it to correct minor imperfections such as chips, gaps, or uneven edges.
  • Orthodontic treatments: Correct misaligned teeth and bite issues using traditional braces or clear aligners like Invisalign to achieve a straighter and more aligned smile.
  • Gum contouring: Reshapes and sculpts the gum line to improve the appearance of a “gummy” smile or to create a more balanced and symmetrical gum line.
  • Smile makeovers: Comprehensive treatment plans that combine multiple cosmetic dentistry treatments to achieve a complete transformation of the smile, addressing various aesthetic concerns.

Restorative Dentistry

The area of dentistry known as restorative care aims to identify and address problems with teeth’s structure, function, and aesthetics. It seeks to repair broken, rotting, or missing teeth in order to preserve their health, integrity, and appearance.

In order to restore or replace teeth that have been harmed by decay, trauma, infection, or wear, restorative dentistry techniques are used. The objective is to enhance the overall look of the teeth and smile, restore normal function, and relieve discomfort.

Restorative dentistry in SE Calgary include:

  • Fillings: Repair teeth affected by cavities or minor damage by removing the decayed portion and filling it with durable dental material.
  • Dental crowns: Custom-made restorations that cover and protect damaged or weakened teeth, restoring their shape, strength, and appearance.
  • Bridges: Replace missing teeth by anchoring artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth or dental implants, filling the gap.
  • Dental implants: Permanent tooth replacements that mimic natural teeth, consisting of a titanium post surgically inserted into the jawbone and topped with a dental crown or bridge.
  • Dentures: Removable appliances that replace multiple missing teeth or an entire arch, improving chewing ability and restoring facial aesthetics.
  • Root canal therapy: Treats infected or damaged tooth pulp by removing it, cleaning the root canals, and sealing them. A dental crown is often placed for added protection.

What’s the Difference?

Here’s a breakdown of the main differences between cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry:

Cosmetic Dentistry

  • Focus: Cosmetic dentistry primarily focuses on improving the appearance of teeth and the overall smile. It aims to enhance the aesthetics of the teeth, making them look more attractive and appealing.
  • Treatment: Common cosmetic dentistry treatments include teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental bonding, gum contouring, and orthodontic treatments like clear aligners or braces. These processes are usually elective and performed solely for cosmetic purposes.
  • Goal: The goal of cosmetic dentistry is to enhance the visual aspects of the teeth, including their color, shape, size, alignment, and overall smile design. It aims to create a more beautiful and confident smile.

Restorative Dentistry

  • Focus: Restorative dentistry primarily focuses on repairing and restoring the function, health, and structure of teeth that have been damaged, decayed, or lost. It aims to restore oral health, alleviate pain, and improve the functionality and integrity of the teeth.
  • Treatment: Restorative dentistry treatments include dental fillings, dental crowns, bridges, dental implants, dentures, and root canal therapy. These procedures are performed to address oral health issues, repair damaged teeth, replace missing teeth, and restore proper function and structure.
  • Goal: The goal of restorative dentistry is to restore the health, functionality, and structural integrity of the teeth. It aims to address oral health problems, improve oral function, and maintain proper oral hygiene.

While cosmetic dentistry in SE Calgary primarily focuses on improving the appearance of teeth, restorative dentistry is more concerned with the functional and structural aspects of teeth. However, many restorative measures can also have cosmetic benefits, as they often result in an improved appearance and a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

A comprehensive approach to dental care may involve a combination of both cosmetic and restorative treatments to achieve optimal oral health, functionality, and a beautiful smile. Consulting with a dental professional will help determine the most suitable treatment options based on individual needs and goals.


Are you interested in receiving cosmetic or restorative dentistry near you? If so, consulting with a Calgary dentist at Inglewood Dental will help determine the most suitable treatment options based on your individual needs and goals. Please get in touch with us today!