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What’s the Difference Between Restorative Dentistry and Cosmetic Dentistry?

Your Smile Is Our Priority

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When you have a tooth that no longer provides the natural functionality it should, like biting or chewing, your dentist will likely recommend you as a good candidate for restorative dentistry. This is a specific focus on the functionality of your teeth and restoring them to their natural state. While this does include looks, as most teeth without proper functioning capabilities also have experienced staining or rot, it is not a purely aesthetic task. 

When you are looking for aesthetic dentistry, including whitening, gum contouring, teeth shaving, and more, this is called cosmetic dentistry. However, there is a big overlap between the two focuses, and most restorative dentistry will include some level of cosmetic work after improving the essential functions of the tooth. To see which option is best for you, Journal Square Dental has put together a guide on understanding the ins and outs of the different forms of dentistry. 

Understanding Restorative Dentistry

If you have a gum disease, like periodontitis or gingivitis, you may experience tooth rot. This can cause a few issues, such as making biting and chewing painful, infecting the gums and bones, weakening your teeth, and discoloring the enamel. In order to restore your mouth and teeth to their natural functions and allow you to chew, bite, and speak normally, many procedures and different cleanings may be offered. A few of the more common ones include: 

  • Root canal
  • Crown fitting
  • Scaling and root planing 
  • Flap surgery
  • Gingivectomy 
  • Tooth extraction
  • Osseous surgery
  • Bone graft

The idea is to restore as much of the natural tooth structure as possible. This can involve shaving the tooth down and removing bits of the gum and teeth that are infected. Once these procedures have been completed and your mouth is free of any infection or physical impairment, cosmetic procedures may be completed to replicate the regular look and feel of your other teeth. 

Understanding Cosmetic Dentistry

When your oral health is in good standing and all functionality is fine, restorative dentistry is not necessary. However, if you are unhappy or self-conscious about your smile, your dentist may suggest undergoing various cosmetic dental procedures to help boost your overall happiness.  There is some overlap between the procedures for cosmetic dentistry and restorative, including gum contouring, dental crowns, and even dental implants. This can help with discolored teeth, stained teeth, misshapen teeth, and “gummy” smiles, where more gum is exposed than tooth. 

Common concerns of patients include crooked smiles and minor aesthetic complaints. The team at Journal Square Dental is proud to offer a complete Smile Makeover, including teeth whitening, dental bonding, Invisalign products for straightening, and even the option of custom-made porcelain veneers. Before and after photos will be taken to document your process, and we even offer examples of past client results to get an idea of what exactly we can do for you when it comes to your smile. 

Speak to a Professional Dentist About Your Options Today

Whether you believe restorative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, or even both, are needed, look no further than Journal Square Dental. Dr. Haig Rickerby has been a part of the New Jersey Dental Association since 1987 and has proudly served his community’s restorative and cosmetic dental needs for over 25 years. With a people-first approach and community-oriented mindset, our clinic offers a rewarding experience like no other dentistry in the area. 

Restore the natural look and function of your smile in a matter of months by scheduling an examination and consultation with Journal Square Dental today. We can be reached at (201) 431-0288 or through our online contact form.