Cosmetic and restorative dentistry: Which is the right option for you?

What is the difference between cosmetic and restorative dentistry?

In the past, most dentistry centred around the prevention of decay and restoration of the teeth if there were problems. But in recent years, cosmetic dentistry has become increasingly popular, especially for people who are keen to improve the look of their smile. It’s easy to become confused about the differences between cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Although the two fields share many similarities, they’re not the same thing.

Essentially, cosmetic dental treatments are elective – those who are not happy or satisfied with their smile, choose to have them. Whereas restorative dentistry is based on restoring the function and structure of your teeth and sometimes, alleviating pain and preventing further issues.

What does cosmetic dentistry involve?

Cosmetic dentistry is the branch of dentistry designed to improve the look or appearance of your teeth. This includes having treatments to improve the appearance of crooked, discoloured, broken, or uneven teeth that can often affect your overall smile. Fortunately, Pacific Smiles offers a range of cosmetic dentistry options that can improve the appearance of your smile. Book an appointment with your dentist to discuss the right option for you in terms of desired results, budget, and your current oral health.

Common cosmetic dentistry procedures

The most common types of cosmetic procedures include:

Teeth whitening – designed to remove yellowing, staining and discolouration and restore teeth to a lighter shade.

Veneers (Porcelain or composite veneers) – can be bonded to the front surface of one or more teeth to improve their size, shape or colour.

Tooth contouring and reshaping – can change the shape, length and surface of the tooth to improve the alignment of your teeth and smile.

Dental bridges and crowns- bridges can replace one or more missing teeth to improve not only your smile, but chewing ability, and facial structure, and to prevent other teeth from moving into the space. For a traditional bridge, crowns replace the natural crowns on either side, holding the bridge in place. The crown is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gums and can also be used to improve a single tooth’s appearance.

Orthodontic braces and aligners – can reposition uneven or crooked teeth to their correct position. These can be traditional metal brackets and wires, more discrete ceramic braces, or clear plastic aligners.


Common restorative dentistry procedures

This is the branch of dentistry which aims to improve the general health of the mouth, teeth and gums. When teeth are decayed or damaged, or there is a break in the protective outer enamel, bacteria can enter the teeth and gums. If left untreated, this can cause decay and infection resulting in more difficult and expensive treatment.

Fillings – are used to fill an area of the tooth that has been removed due to decay or trauma. Fillings can be made from a range of different materials, most commonly silver-coloured amalgam, or composite resin.

Dental implants – an alternative when teeth are missing. Sometimes it’s not possible to restore a tooth and an extraction is the only option, leaving a gap. Dental implants are becoming increasingly common as a way to replace a missing tooth, improve chewing ability and facial structure, and to prevent other teeth from moving into the space.

Root canal and dental crown – a Root canal is when the soft pulp inside the tooth is removed and the space is filled and sealed. Often a dental crown is placed over the tooth to restore its shape, size and strength.

Dental bridges– replace missing teeth where there is a gap. These are often a combination of crowns that fit over the natural teeth on either side of the space. Artificial teeth are then made which bridge the gap.

Dentures – are removable or semipermanent false teeth that are worn to replace multiple missing teeth.


If you are interested in beginning your cosmetic dental journey or are due for your check-up, book an appointment with your dentist to discuss your individual cosmetic and restorative dentistry options. Alternatively, if you are unsure of what treatment is suitable for you or are nervous about starting your cosmetic journey, you can submit a callback form and our team will contact you to chat about booking your first cosmetic appointment.

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