Wedgewood Dental

Cosmetic vs. General Dentistry: What’s the Difference?

Cosmetic vs. General Dentistry: What’s the Difference?

Everyone has different requirements when looking for a dentist. Some patients are looking to improve their overall oral health, treat an issue, or clean their teeth. Others are looking to improve the appearance of their smile. Read to find out the difference between cosmetic and general dentistry and what dental procedure could be right for you.

What is General Dentistry?

General dentistry is primary care for your teeth. A general dentist can treat and manage a variety of issues, such as cavities, gum disease, or tooth pain. You can also visit a general dentist regularly (recommended every six months) for checkups and preventative care. Some examples of general dentistry procedures are:

Dental Fillings

A dental filling is when a dentist treats a cavity by filling it with some type of material, such as composite resins. A cavity is decay or damage caused by bacteria resulting from poor dental hygiene or eating foods with a high sugar content, for example. The dentist prepares the tooth by removing the decay before filling it.

Root Canals

A root canal is a procedure that treats an infected or badly decayed tooth by removing the soft center or “pulp” of the tooth. The pulp consists of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels, which is why root canals have a reputation for being somewhat uncomfortable. However, many patients report more discomfort during the period leading up to the procedure than during the procedure itself.

Dental Cleanings

Regular cleanings are a great method of preventative care and are highly recommended by dental professionals. Performed by a dentist or a dental hygienist, this procedure deep cleans by thoroughly removing tartar and plaque that has built up over time. It is recommended to have a dental cleaning done every six months, more if you are especially prone to cavities or gum disease.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentists focus on the overall appearance of your tooth and gums, but aesthetic improvement can sometimes overlap with addressing other related issues, such as chewing or speech problems. Some examples of popular in-office cosmetic procedures are veneers, teeth whitening, and dental implants. Read more about them below.


Veneers are a popular method of improving the look and shape of teeth that are damaged or worn down. They consist of thin, custom-made shells made from a material such as porcelain. Your dentist will fit the veneer directly onto your existing tooth with specialized cement and shine a light onto it to harden it. The result is a more even, natural smile.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a popular procedure used to whiten teeth that are yellowed or stained from age, illness, or food/drinks like coffee, red wine, and soy sauce. In-office teeth whitening is often more effective than whitening toothpastes, mouthwashes, and adhesive strips due to a higher concentration of a peroxide-based whitening agent.

Although it’s effective, some patients report increased tooth sensitivity in the days following this procedure.

Dental Implants

There are many benefits to dental implants - some that are cosmetic and some that are structural. Dental Implants are made from titanium which eventually fuses to the jawbone. The part that looks like a tooth is called a crown. This is attached to the titanium implant. The result is a beautiful, healthy, and confident smile.

Call a Dentist Today

If you’re interested in a general or cosmetic dental procedure, call a dentist in Rolla today to find out more. Contact us to discuss your options with a dental professional and find out what’s right for you.


713 Salem Avenue Suite A, Rolla MO 65401

Office Hours

MON 7:30 am - 3:30 pm

TUE Closed

WED - THU 7:30 am - 3:30 pm

FRI - SUN Closed

Get in Touch


Phone: (573) 368-7325


1116 S. Main Street, Salem MO 65560

Office Hours

MON Closed

TUE 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

WED - THU Closed

FRI 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

SAT - SUN Closed

Get in Touch


Phone: (573) 729-7701