Most of us have a general idea what cosmetic dentistry is. We know that the movie stars and TV celebrities have cosmetic dental work done to have those perfect smiles. But there are other types of dentistry, as well, such as restorative dentistry. If you look close enough, some of the treatment procedures used to restore can, and often are, also used as cosmetic treatments. So what is cosmetic dentistry and how is it different from restorative dentistry?
The Difference between Cosmetic and Restorative
Although it may seem that the difference between cosmetic and restorative dentistry is six of one and half a dozen of another, they are different in one respect. Cosmetic treatments are optional and voluntary. They are not required to maintain your dental health. Although sometimes cosmetic procedures also restore function and sometimes restorative procedures serve to improve cosmetics, restorative treatments are required while cosmetic treatments are performed by choice.
Restorative dentistry restores damaged or diseased teeth and gums to health. Restorative dentistry begins with the diagnosis of a dental problem or disease and concludes with the restorative treatment. Structural problems such as damaged or missing teeth, tooth decay, jaw issues such as TMJ, and gum disease all require restorative treatment.
However, if your teeth, gums, and TMJ are in good health but you decide you want whiter teeth, or longer teeth, or better shaped teeth, or that your smile is too “gummy” (shows too much gingival tissue) you would opt for cosmetic treatment such as gum contouring or dental veneers to beautify your smile.