Young African American couple smiling portraying cosmetic dentistry

What is the difference between cosmetic dentistry and traditional dentistry. How do you know which dentist to see for your concerns? We will explain five differences between the types of dentistry and why cosmetic dentistry is the choice for achieving your aesthetic goals.

How Do Cosmetic and Traditional Dentistry Differ?

Cosmetic dentistry improves the aesthetics of your smile while traditional dentistry focuses on primary care for your oral health. While traditional dentistry ensures your teeth are clean, healthy, and cavity free, cosmetic dentistry’s unique improvements include:

  • Shape
  • Size
  • Color
  • Spacing
  • Damage

Cosmetic dentist may use dental bonding, porcelain veneers, or orthodontics to improve the appearance of your smile. The article, The Pursuit of  Excellence in Esthetic Dentistry, published by the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, describes cosmetic bonding as one of the most conservative and natural-looking restorative options that cosmetics dentists provide.

1.  Improves Tooth Shape

Cosmetic dentistry can improve teeth that are misshaped from genetics, trauma, or other factors. Skilled cosmetic dentists conservatively treated misshaped teeth with dental bonding or porcelain veneers. A dentist can apply bonding to match your teeth while you sit in the dental chair. Porcelain veneers require two to three visits.

2. Improves Tooth Size

If your teeth are too large, small, short, or long, a cosmetic dentist can improve their size. A dentist may use bonding, porcelain veneers, or a combination of treatment to achieve the tooth size you want.

3. Brightens Your Smile

Bi-annual teeth cleaning from a general dentist can remove surface stains from your teeth but only cosmetic whitening can break down stains beneath the enamel. Cosmetic dentists offer in-office and at-home whitening to get your teeth shades lighter.

4. Closes Gaps Between Your Teeth

If you have small gaps between your teeth, a cosmetic dentistry can correct them without braces. Cosmetic bonding or porcelain veneers helps gaps disappear while maintaining natural balance in the shape and size of your teeth.

5. Restores Damaged Teeth

A skilled cosmetic dentist can restore cracked or chipped teeth with dental bonding or porcelain veneers. Your dentist will recommend treatment based on the extent of internal and external damage.


Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of your smile while general dentistry focuses on helping you maintain healthy teeth. Improving the size, shape, color, and other imperfections in your teeth requires the skill of a trained cosmetic dentist.

Request a Cosmetic Dentistry Consultation

Before choosing a cosmetic dentist, look for dentist with advanced training in aesthetics. Look at their websites for patient photos of dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and other cosmetic treatments, then choose two dentists and schedule consultations. Dentist with advanced training and experience can anticipate the results of various treatment methods and achieve natural-looking results.

If you live near Vancouver, Washington, request a consultation with cosmetic and implant dentist Dr. Mo Saleh.

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