The difference between Cosmetic and restorative dentistry.

What’s the difference between cosmetic and restorative dentistry?

In the past, most dentistry centered around the prevention of decay and restoration of teeth, 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.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic or aesthetic dentistry is designed to improve the look or appearance of your teeth. Often, treatments to improve the appearance of crooked, discoloured, broken, or uneven teeth can improve the overall appearance of your smile. Nib Dental 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.

Cosmetic dentistry procedures

The most common types of cosmetic dental procedures include:

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

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

Tooth contouring and reshaping – contouring 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. Bridges often use crowns on the adjacent teeth to hold the replacement tooth in place. The crown is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gums.

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.


Restorative dentistry procedures

Restorative dentistry 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 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 extraction is the only option, leaving a gap. Dental implants are becoming increasingly common as a way to replace a missing tooth, improving chewing ability, and facial structure and preventing other teeth from moving into the space.

Root canal and dental crown – 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 a missing tooth where there is a gap. Crowns often 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.