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What is the Difference Between Restorative Dentistry and Cosmetic Dentistry?

Restorative dentistry restores the tooth, or teeth, to their normal function, whereas cosmetic dentistry enhances the visual appearance of your teeth.  At times, both will overlap each other due to the utilization of crowns and implants for teeth restoration.  Dental care at home should start at an early age and include regular dental visits and check-ups.  This will help to address any dental issues that arise before they can escalate.  But, even with good oral health care, problems can still surface requiring restorative or cosmetic dentistry.  That’s why finding a dentist near you who you feel comfortable with and trust, can help make dentist visits easier to keep.

People usually seek dental treatment because they are experiencing dental pain, swelling, or bleeding.  Restorative dentistry usually starts during a regular dental visit.  If you have a cavity, the dentist will clean and fill the gap in the tooth to prevent further damage.  When a tooth is chipped or destroyed and needing to be extracted, the dentist will guide you through the different types of tooth replacement options.  Restorative dentistry identifies problems and restores proper function and oral health of the teeth. 

Common restorative dentistry includes:

  • Crowns.  Also known as a cap, a crown covers a severely decayed or damaged tooth.
  • Bridges.  An artificial tooth or teeth that are used to replace a missing tooth or teeth.  They are attached to the adjacent teeth or implants to hold in place.
  • Implants.  A dental implant is placed into the jawbone so that an artificial tooth or teeth will act as a replacement.
  • Fillings.  The decayed part of a tooth is removed and filled with composite material to restore its function.  If done correctly, a filling can last for years. 
  • Veneers.  This is a layer of material that is permanently bonded to the teeth to improve the teeth’s appearance.
  • Root canal.  If the tooth is decayed on the root of an infected tooth, then a root canal needs to be performed.  This will improve your overall oral health.
  • Extractions.  If no procedure can restore the health and function of a tooth, then it will need to be pulled out.
  • Dentures.  These are constructed to replace missing teeth or a complete set of teeth.  Partial dentures are anchored in place by a bridge and supported by your remaining teeth.  Complete dentures are held in place by snap-in dentures or an adhesive that bonds to your gums.

Cosmetic dentistry focuses on the appearance of the mouth to improve your teeth and smile.  It is an elective procedure that is performed to alter the color, shape, size, alignment, and spacing of teeth.  People usually seek cosmetic dentistry because they are not happy with their smile.  Cosmetic dentistry can also be restorative to some extent such as restoring a decayed tooth back to its original form.  

Common cosmetic dentistry includes:

  • Implants.  A dental implant is placed into the jawbone so that an artificial tooth or teeth will act as a replacement.
  • Veneers.  This is a layer of material that is permanently bonded to your teeth to improve your teeth’s appearance.
  • Bonding.  This helps repair chipped, cracked, or a broken tooth by adding a composite resin to make the tooth look like new.
  • Inlays and onlays.  An inlay is considered when a filling is not strong enough to protect a cavity and a crown is too much.  An onlay is considered when a cavity is too big to fill or if the tooth might crack due to weakness.  
  • Teeth whitening.  This is one of the most basic dental procedures used to lighten the discoloration of your teeth to achieve a cleaner smile.

Restorative and cosmetic dentistry are more related than not.  Both works to improve a patient’s teeth through corrective procedures that will benefit the overall health and appearance.  However, restorative and cosmetic dentistry do not use the same composite materials for their procedures.  Restorative dentistry uses durable and affordable materials rather than an aesthetically pleasing material that is color-matched to blend in with the rest of a patient’s teeth.  So, finding the right dentist near you to help decide which type of dentistry works best for you, is crucial to making the right decision.  

If you are questioning if restorative or cosmetic dentistry will benefit you, call Maestri Dental in the Lafayette, La area today at 337-04-2126 to discuss your concerns.  You can trust that you will be getting the very best dental care.  Dr. Gina Maestri can help restore, repair, or reshape your teeth to achieve that beautiful smile you are longing for.  To learn more about the variety of services Maestri Dental provides, you can visit the website https://www.maestridental.comBe ready to have a brighter smile.       


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