What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and a Cosmetic Dentist?

Categories: General Dentistry

general vs cosmetic dentistSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

General dentists can offer cosmetic or aesthetic dentistry treatments including teeth whitening, bonding and veneers. Likewise, cosmetic dentists can offer general dentistry treatments like cleanings, fillings and tooth extractions. But most times, one or the other is better matched to the treatment you need. It’s sort of like choosing a family doctor. You choose a general practitioner for your primary care physician because that person treats the entire body. But then you have specialists for pediatric or prenatal care or for specific parts of the body. The same goes for dentistry. Let’s take a look today at the difference between a general dentist and a cosmetic dentist so you can know which one to call for your next treatment.

What is general dentistry?

General dentistry focuses on overall oral health, paying special attention to preventative and restorative treatments.

A general dentist is where you go for:

  • Routine check-ups and cleanings
  • Cavity fillings
  • Root canals
  • Tooth extractions
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • General oral hygiene education and guidance

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentists also take care of your oral health, but their primary interest is in the aesthetics of your smile — improving the appearance of your teeth and gums. They are often general dentists with additional education and training in cosmetic procedures.

A cosmetic dentist is typically where you go for:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Dental veneers, which are wafer-thin, custom-made shells placed over the front surface of teeth to hide imperfections
  • Bonding, which is when our Santa Cruz cosmetic dentist applies a tooth-colored resin to repair or improve the appearance of a tooth
  • Contouring and reshaping teeth and gums
  • Orthodontics (like traditional metal braces or Invisalign clear aligner therapy) to straighten teeth
  • Dental implants for aesthetic reasons
  • Crowns and bridges for aesthetic enhancement


While general dentistry focuses on the health and functionality of your teeth and gums, cosmetic dentistry focuses on their appearance. Both play important roles in comprehensive dental care, and many dentist office’s specialize in both general and cosmetic dentistry. To learn more about the general and cosmetic dentistry treatments offered at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, give us a call at (831) 824-5111, or reach us online today.