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The Difference Between Restorative Dentistry And Cosmetic Dentistry

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 The Difference Between Restorative Dentistry And Cosmetic Dentistry

When you visit the dentist, you probably don’t consider the different forms of dentistry. You lay back, get your teeth cleaned, get your exam, and maybe that’s all. But what if your dentist notices a chip in your tooth and asks if you want it repaired? Does this count as restorative dentistry or as cosmetic dentistry? After all, your tooth was fine and now it’s chipped, so returning it to its original state should be restorative, right? Unless the chip has the potential to cause cracking or otherwise disrupt the function of the tooth, this would actually be considered cosmetic dentistry. Knowing the difference between restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry can help you be a more informed patient and can help you know your dental options.

Restorative Dentistry Versus Cosmetic Dentistry


  • Restorative Dentistry: Restorative dentistry is necessary dental work that is completed so a person can be safe and comfortable. For example, if a tooth is infected, it needs to be repaired or removed to ensure that the infection doesn’t spread through the body or cause the tooth to fall out. Or if a person breaks a tooth, it needs to be repaired so the patient isn’t in pain. Any type of dental emergency will require restorative dentistry. To learn more about the types of restorative dentistry, read Choose A Dentist Committed To Restorative Dentistry.
  • Cosmetic Dentistry: This type of dentistry is elective and not pressing. A person receives cosmetic dentistry to alter the appearance of their teeth and there is no immediate danger or discomfort with their current teeth. That being said, cosmetic dentistry can make a big impact on a person’s sense of self-worth and mental health. Although cosmetic dentistry is not considered a medical necessity, it may be very helpful for the mental well-being of a patient struggling with their self-image.


  • Restorative Dentistry: Restorative dentistry is functional. If a person struggles to eat or speak or if they are in pain, restorative dentistry is performed. This type of dentistry always has some function other than improving a person’s looks. Restorative dentistry is focused on the function and practicality of oral health.
  • Cosmetic Dentistry: Cosmetic dentistry is aesthetic. Cosmetic dentistry alters the teeth so they are more appealing in appearance. For example, this could mean bleaching the teeth for a whiter smile or adding veneers for a straighter appearance of the teeth. Cosmetic dentistry doesn’t change a person’s ability to eat or speak and it instead changes the look of the teeth. 

How Restorative Dentistry And Cosmetic Dentistry Overlap
Although they are very different, these two types of dentistry do sometimes overlap. For example, shifting the teeth for even spacing using braces or Invisalign® can be considered cosmetic dentistry or restorative dentistry depending on the reason for shifting the teeth. While having even, straight teeth can be a cosmetic desire, straight teeth can actually benefit oral health. Other forms of dentistry additions such as dentures, crowns, bridges, and more can also be classified as either cosmetic or restorative depending on the reason a patient gets them. For example, a person doesn’t need all of their teeth to eat and speak, but it may make it significantly harder depending on which teeth are missing and it may count as either restorative or as cosmetic. If you have a dental concern and don’t know which type of dentistry it counts as, ask your dentist during a dental exam.

Restorative Dentistry And Cosmetic Dentistry At Marlborough Dental Centre

Dentists that offer both restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry services give you various options for correcting teeth and addressing oral health concerns. At Marlborough Dental Centre in NE Calgary, we offer both types of dentistry as well as family dentistry, so you can address all of your dental needs with our highly skilled and experienced staff. Whether you want to book a dental exam, speak to us about cosmetic dentistry, or you need a restorative dentistry procedure, you can contact Marlborough Dental Centre by phone at 1-403-248-2066 or you can fill out the online contact form.


Q: What are some common forms of cosmetic dentistry?
A: Cosmetics dentistry is any type of dentistry that improves the look of your smile. Cosmetic dentistry services can include but are not limited to:

Q: Is cosmetic dentistry covered by insurance?
A: No, Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) does not cover cosmetic dental procedures.

Q: Are restorative dentistry and emergency dentistry the same thing?
A: No, emergency dentistry needs immediate attention and can lead to serious damage or tooth loss if immediate action isn’t taken. Although restorative dentistry is also important and functional, the average restorative dentistry procedure is scheduled and not as urgent or as time-sensitive as a dental emergency.

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