For some, the sheer thought of the dentist makes your hands clam up, and your chest feels tight because you hate having someone work on your teeth, and being in the office makes you anxious. For others, dentistry is exciting to you. The work is interesting and you want to know more.

If you’re the first patient who wants to cry thinking of the dentist, we encourage you to learn all you can about the dental treatments you need, even routine cleanings and x-rays. Knowledge is one of the best ways to calm your fears. In addition, make sure you have a trustworthy dentist who helps to calm your nerves, patiently answers your questions, and allows you to feel comfortable when you’re in the dentist’s chair. Never endure treatments with a dentist who makes you feel even more nervous and uncomfortable.

If you’re the second type of patient who has no problem going to see your Utah dentist, then we hope you enjoy learning about two of the most common dental procedures we deal with in our offices: Cosmetic and restorative dentistry. These two categories bring a large percentage of business for most dentists. The global restorative dental market was valued just above $16 billion in 2022, and cosmetic treatments brought in 29.6 million in 2021. And the number of restorative and cosmetic dentistry cases is growing. A general family dentist in Utah can perform both types of dentistry in typical cases without needing a specialist.

Cosmetic and restorative dentistry both consist of restoring damaged, decayed, or missing teeth. However, the two types of dentistry also have a lot of differences. Let’s explore those differences today.

The Differences Between Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry


1. Restorative Dentistry is Essential

A restorative dental procedure is performed to repair decayed, broken, or missing teeth. Its purpose is to restore function. Dentists often recommend restorative treatments when there is something wrong with the teeth that could cause more damage if not fixed, such as a patient needing treatment to alleviate gum swelling, pain, or bleeding. Restorative surgery usually has some urgency attached to it. The longer you wait, the worse it can be. Restorative procedures include:

  • Root Canals
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Bonding
  • Implants

2. Cosmetic Dentistry is Elective

Cosmetic treatments are elective treatments to enhance the way your teeth look. This can include altering the teeth’ color, shape, size, spacing, or alignment. People come to their dentist wanting cosmetic procedures when they are unhappy with a particular aspect of their smile rather than because they have discomfort. Cosmetic surgery doesn’t have the same urgency as restorative treatments. Some examples of cosmetic procedures are:

  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Bonding to Reduce Spacing or Gaps
  • Teeth Whitening
  • Dental Implants to Improve Spaces or Gaps
  • Invisalign
  • Braces
  • Crowns to Improve Appearance
  • Orthodontics Focused on Smile Improvement Rather Than Bite Correction

3. Dental Materials

Cosmetic and restorative dental procedures also differ in the tools and materials used for treatment. When it comes to fabricating dental restorations, dentists will typically use durable and affordable materials made to last. The focus isn’t on making them look aesthetically pleasing. For instance, amalgam fillings are made of safe, affordable, and durable metals.

Cosmetic dental materials focus on both durability and appearance. Dental restorations selected for cosmetic treatments have a pleasing color and translucent properties, which supply camouflage, so they blend in with the teeth around instead of standing out like silver amalgam fillings. An example of a cosmetic material is a tooth-colored or composite filling. They are made of dental composite resin, color-matched to each patient’s tooth structure and color.

Restorative surgery has become a necessity in modern dentistry and we are lucky for the resources and technology we have to repair teeth and eliminate the pain that people experience due to damaged teeth.

Cosmetic surgery continues to grow in popularity because there are so many fantastic options for enhancing the look and feel of your teeth. With the rise of social media, people are noticing others’ amazing smiles and wanting to know more. The methods for performing cosmetic dental treatments also are now easier than ever.

In a nutshell, restorative dentistry comprises treatments that focus on restoring or repairing damaged oral structures. Cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental work solely aiming to approve appearance.

We’d love to assist you if you need restorative or cosmetic dentistry in Utah. We have offices in Layton and West Haven and are passionate about educating our patients and helping to make your dental journey as great as possible.