What is The Difference Between a Dentist and a Cosmetic Dentist?

People are sometimes confused about the difference between cosmetic dentistry and family dentistry. This is understandable since many family dentists do tend to offer some basic cosmetic treatments. Even so, there is a difference between the two types of dentists. Here are some basics that you should keep in mind.

Training and Education

A cosmetic dentist in Richmond Hill will have the same basic training as a general dentist. In addition to the training needed to be properly licensed and certified, the cosmetic dentist will undergo more specialized education and training. That’s because the cosmetic dentist will be called upon to perform more comprehensive procedures than those typically offered by a family dentist.

Most patients can readily see the difference between taking care of basic dental issues and cosmetic dental surgery. Implants are a good example. While some family dentists may also have the training and expertise associated with cosmetic dentistry, many would refer patients who need implants to a cosmetic surgeon. 

Focus of the Practice


A family or general dentist is primarily concerned about the function of the teeth and the general dental health of the patient. While the appearance of the teeth will be of some importance, it is secondary to making sure the teeth are sound. This means that the family dentist will first be concerned about removing all the decay from a tooth and then making sure the filling is installed properly. The appearance of the filling will not carry the same level of importance. 

By contrast, a professional who practices cosmetic dentistry is focused on making sure the teeth look great as well as function properly. Cosmetic dentists will also offer treatments that are specifically designed to improve the look of your teeth. This means if your teeth are basically healthy but there is something about their appearance you don’t like, the cosmetic dentist would be your best bet. 

Restorative Dentistry

If you are involved in some type of accident that leaves your teeth in poor condition, you are more likely to find a dentist who is an expert in cosmetic dental surgery. In your case, the goal is to repair any teeth that can be salvaged while finding the best replacement for teeth that are now lost forever. This may call for a combination of procedures like veneers, bridges, implants, and other forms of treatment. While some of these may be offered by a general dentist, a cosmetic dentist in Richmond Hill would likely be able to manage the entire restorative process from beginning to end. 

Think of a general or family dentist as your first line of defense in keeping your teeth healthy. If there is something about the way your teeth look that bothers you, seeking help from an expert in cosmetic dentistry is the way to go. You can find a dentist on your own, or arrange to get a referral from your family dentist.  Remember that cosmetic dentists do evaluate your general dental health and may require that you see a general dentist for basic treatments before undergoing any cosmetic procedure.

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