What’s  the main differences between 3 common types of dentistry?

You already know to brush twice a day and visit a dentist at least every six months, but do you know what makes a cosmetic dentist different than a family dentist? Or what separates restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry?

Navigating the world of dentistry as a patient can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re searching for a new dentist. For example, if you visit the Monroe Family Dentistry website you’ll see that our dental practice offers general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and restorative dentistry.

If you’re curious about what these common forms of dentistry are and whether or not they are a requirement for the dental care you’re searching for, keep on reading.

Family Dentistry: General Dentistry Care Fit for All Ages

The term family dentistry and general dentistry can be confusing because they are very similar. A family dentist is a general dentist but a general dentist isn’t always a family dentist. The difference? Family dentists accept both children and adults as patients whereas general dentists may only accept adults—and often older teens—as patients.

Family dentists are a fantastic choice for families looking for a “one-stop-shop” for dental care.

Family Dentistry vs. General Dentistry vs. Preventive Dentistry

Most family dental practices offer the same services as a general dentist, but this can vary between practices. There is also some overlap between general dentistry and preventive dentistry services.

General dentistry encompasses a huge range of standard dental care services. For example, getting a cavity filled on a tooth is a type of general dental care but usually isn’t considered preventive in nature as it’s an active treatment.

Preventive dentistry falls within the category of general dentistry but relates to any type of dental care that is passive in nature and helps the patient from developing new problems. Think of preventive dental care as your routine evaluations, professional cleanings with the hygienist, having X-rays taken, etc.

Restorative Dentistry: Helping You Get Back Strong Tooth Structure

You might be wondering, “Wait. If getting a filling done isn’t preventive in nature, what category does it fall under?” The answer is restorative dentistry.

As the name suggests, restorative dentistry focuses on restoring the health of your teeth, primarily in terms of the structure. Many types of restorative dentistry services are in the category of general dentistry.

Some examples of the restorative services Monroe Family Dentistry offers include:

  • Tooth-Colored Fillings
  • Dental Crowns
  • Dental Bridges

Essentially, if you need help getting a damaged or decayed tooth back to a strong, healthy state, restorative dentistry is the answer.

Restorative Dentistry vs. Cosmetic Dentistry

Just like the other dentistry services above, there is also a lot of overlap between restorative and cosmetic care procedures. Many restorative dental services, especially when it comes to crowns, bridges, and implants, can also be considered cosmetic in nature. Knowing whether the care you need is restorative or cosmetic comes down to function versus appearance.

Restorative dentistry is specifically functional in nature and focuses on fixing the structure of your teeth. An easy way to understand what is restorative and what is cosmetic is to take a look at what your dental insurance covers.

The majority of dental insurance covers all restorative care, but many types of insurance don’t cover cosmetic procedures or will only partially cover it. This is why your insurance might cover a crown on a decayed tooth after a root canal but won’t cover or fully cover a porcelain bridge.

The waters between restorative and cosmetic can be muddy. If you’re unsure of whether the care you’re interested in or need is restorative or cosmetic in nature, a quick call to your dentist will help you figure it out.

Cosmetic Dentistry: Putting the Finishing Touches on Your Smile

Cosmetic dentistry is a field of dental care that has really grown in popularity, which is why it isn’t surprising to see many family dental practices offering cosmetic care—including Monroe Family Dentistry!

Cosmetic dentistry is all about improving the aesthetics of your smile—although the benefits can be quite functional as well (more on that in a bit).

The strictly cosmetic dentistry services offered by Monroe Family Dentistry include:

  • Professional Teeth Whitening
  • Porcelain Veneers

As mentioned, many cosmetic services can bring about functional advantages. Think of a cosmetic service like Invisalign as an example. Your crooked teeth might bother you because of how they look and you’d like to get that fixed.

Getting Invisalign to straighten them is considered cosmetic, but in reality, you’re also helping to improve the function of your teeth. Straight teeth are less prone to developing decay as bits of food and plaque won’t develop as easily. You might also be able to chew food more easily or even improve the way you speak.

Porcelain veneers are also often strictly considered cosmetic, but receiving full porcelain veneers can also improve oral health by addressing issues with crooked alignment and gaps between teeth.

When is a service considered cosmetic?

Three common restorative services that overlap into the world of cosmetic dentistry include:

  • Dental Implants
  • Porcelain Crowns
  • Porcelain Bridges

Let’s take dental implants as an example. Dental implants are restorative, but they also restore your smile’s appearance giving you cosmetic results. Insurance rarely covers dental implants, unfortunately, though the argument for dental implants improving your overall health can be made.

Visit Monroe Family Dentistry for all of your dental care needs.

Dr. Monroe and his team are ready to help you get your healthiest smile yet. Monroe Family Dentistry not only offers all general and preventive dentistry care but also restorative and cosmetic dental services as well.

When you’re ready to schedule your appointment you can either give our office a call or fill out our convenient online Request an Appointment form. If you’re new to Monroe Family Dentistry, feel free to click the Patient Forms button on our homepage to find a new patient registration form that you can print and complete before your first appointment.