Difference between General and Cosmetic Dentistry

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Decades ago, there were not any distinctions in the field of Dentistry. But now, with advancements in technology, the field has branched to other areas as well. A couple of decades ago, no one ever heard of a cosmetic dentist. But with growing needs and advancements in dentistry, the field has broadened. Now, it is common for people to get confused between a general dentist and a cosmetic dentist. One needs to understand the difference to meet their dental needs. 

There are approximately thirty thousand dentists in Los Angeles, and geographically, most of them are saturated in residential suburbs such as Tarzana, Santa Clarita, among many others.

Tarzana is a suburban residential area in Los Angeles, California, brimming with luxury houses of celebrities and socialites. The area has a bustling complex with a high concentration of various clinics, cafes, and shopping centers. There are many cosmetic and general dentist Tarzana for you to choose from, but how do you know which dentist you need to visit?

So, here are some common differences between a general dentist and a cosmetic dentist for you to make a better decision.


  • General Dentist


These dentists are the primary dental care providers for all age groups and problems related to oral hygiene, dental pain, and discomfort. They perform treatments like tooth extraction, cavity filling, root canal, etc. A general dentist focuses on a wider range of aspects of dental care than a specific area of the problem. 

A general dentist is the same as a general physician. They focus on the broader aspect of the field, such as;

  • Preventive dentistry 
  • Restorative Services 
  • Minor Cosmetic procedures
  • Overall dental health problems

Going to the general dentist at least twice a year is essential for better dental and physical health. 


  • Cosmetic Dentist


Dentists in this field primarily focus on enhancing dental aesthetics. A cosmetic dentist treats any issue related to the looks of your teeth, such as discoloration, chipped teeth, broken teeth, dental gaps, etc. 

Unlike the general dentist that focuses on your overall dental health, a cosmetic dentist only focuses on brightening your smile by performing procedures like;

  • Teeth Whitening 
  • Dental Veneers
  • Dental bonding
  • Dental Implants
  • Inlays and Onlays
  • Dental Bridges

To become a cosmetic dentist, they undergo additional training after completing dental school to be a certified cosmetic dentist.

Which type of dentist should you visit?

So, for instance, if you are considering getting veneers, or some dental restoration or implants, then which type of dentist should you see? 

Since the functions of the two fields overlap, many general dentists have completed additional training and might perform the cosmetic treatment you need. 

If not, your general dentist might refer you to another dentist with more experience in the cosmetic field.

If you choose to visit a cosmetic dentist instead of your family dentist, it is best to check the reviews and look them up on AACD to cross-check references and information. 

No matter which dentist you visit, ensure you gain information about the treatment and the following procedures such as the post-treatment care, duration of the treatment, and the price to make a more precise decision.


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