woman having her teeth checked by the dentist

Elective and Essential Dentistry: Restorative and Cosmetic

Whether you’re a man or a woman, a businessman or an employee, having well-maintained oral health is essential. Protecting your oral health means protecting yourself from different diseases involving the mouth and the entire body.

Part of protecting oral health is protecting your teeth. For teeth to be protected, two kinds of dentistry are involved: cosmetic and restorative.

Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry

Restorative dentistry is the practice of replacing or restoring damaged teeth. Sometimes, it is also referred to as prosthodontic dentistry, a type of dentistry that deals with the maintenance and rehabilitation of oral functions. Restorative dentistry aims to fix the teeth to ensure oral health and a healthier smile.

On the other hand, cosmetic dentistry deals with the appearance of teeth. The process of cosmetic dentistry involves reshaping, straightening, lightening, and replacing or repairing teeth.

The difference

Often confused with one another, restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry have some undeniable similarities. However, the two have a few differences that set them apart.

Restorative dentistry is more focused on keeping oral health, while cosmetic dentistry mainly focuses on the aesthetics or the overall appearance of the mouth and teeth. However, it does not mean that cosmetic dentistry does not focus on health. It only means that its primary goal is to make one’s smile beautiful.

One Is Essential, and One Can Be Elective

Often, restorative dental procedures are needed as soon as possible to repair damaged teeth. When the teeth are damaged, the mouth cannot function the way it is intended to function. The mouth is an integral part of the digestive process giving the body the nutrients it needs to survive.

For this reason, restorative dentistry is essential to maintain a person’s overall health.

Meanwhile, cosmetic dental treatments may not be needed urgently, and a person may survive without going through the procedures. Usually, people select cosmetic dental procedures to improve their appearance if they have the extra money or are not happy with how their teeth look.

Dental Materials

Restorative and cosmetic dental procedures use different materials.

Dental restorations often use durable and cost-effective materials rather than choose materials for their aesthetic appeal. Amalgam fillings, for example, are a mixture made from different metals and have a silver-like appearance. The material is chosen not for its aesthetic appeal but for its function as a durable dental filling option.

Meanwhile, cosmetic dental materials have both aesthetic and durable qualities. The materials chosen for cosmetic dentistry are often translucent or look a lot like regular teeth to make them look more natural.

Examples of Restorative Dentistry

Restorative dental treatments include crowns, bridges, and dental implants. These treatments use different materials, including porcelain, gold, or composite resin.

Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a cap that protects the weakened tooth from further damage and fixes the alignment of the teeth. Lasting for up to 15 years, depending on maintenance and care, dental crowns may be made from different materials, including metals, porcelain, and ceramics.


Dental bridges are used to fill the gap of a missing tooth by using a false tooth. It can be said that dental bridges are both restorative and cosmetic as it hits the two; when a gap of the missing tooth is filled, the mouth can easily perform its function to chew food; it also gives a person more confidence to smile without worries.

Is Restorative Dentistry Right for You?

Restorative dental treatments are essential to ensure that the mouth can perform its function and prevent further oral and other diseases from developing. If one experiences any pain or damage to the teeth, restorative dental treatment may be needed. At clinics like Metro Dental, one can consult if such treatment is required urgently.

Samples of cosmetic dental work

Through cosmetic dentistry, people gain confidence through the treatment of minor teeth imperfections. This branch of dentistry also promotes overall oral health. Some examples of cosmetic dental treatments include teeth whitening and veneers.



Over the years, dentists and researchers have used different materials for veneers. Through technology advancements, they have created veneers that are thinner than older versions. Dentists are now also using materials that can easily mimic the color of the teeth, contributing to a more flawless smile.

Using restorative and cosmetic dental procedures

More often than not, dentists use restorative and cosmetic procedures together. Doing so is like hitting two birds in one stone. Through restorative dentistry, the mouth and teeth are kept healthy; cosmetic dentistry ensures that a person can smile freely and confidently.

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