We value your comfort & safety. LEARN ABOUT OUR COVID PROTOCOLS

What is the Difference between Cosmetic Dentist and Regular Dentist

April 8, 2024

When it comes to dental care, it is essential to understand the roles of different types of dentists. You may have heard of both cosmetic dentists and regular dentists, but what sets them apart? In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the key differences between cosmetic dentist and regular dentist, to help you make informed decisions about your dental health.

Who is a Regular Dentist? 

Regular dentists, also known as general dentists or family dentists, are the primary providers of dental care for people of all ages. They focus on preventive care, diagnosing and treating common dental issues, and promoting overall oral health. 

Services provided by a Regular Dentist? 

Regular dental services provided by these professionals include:

  • Routine checkups and cleanings
  • Fillings for cavities
  • Root canals
  • Tooth extractions
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Dental crowns and bridges
  • Dental implants
  • Orthodontic treatments such as braces

Regular dentists are trained to address both the functional and aesthetic aspects of dental care, but their main emphasis is on maintaining oral health and preventing dental problems.

Who is a Cosmetic Dentist? 

Cosmetic dentists specialize in improving the overall appearance of a person's smile. While regular dentists primarily focus on oral health and functionality, cosmetic dentists concentrate on enhancing the aesthetics of the teeth, gums, and overall smile. 

Services provided by a Cosmetic Dentist?

These professionals offer several cosmetic dental procedures aimed at achieving a more attractive smile, including:

Cosmetic dentists have additional training and expertise in techniques and procedures that enhance the appearance of teeth and gums. They work closely with patients to understand their aesthetic goals and tailor treatment plans to achieve desired results. Now, let us look at some differences between cosmetic and regular dentists.

Key Differences between Cosmetic Dentist and Regular Dentist 

The key difference between cosmetic dentist and regular dentist is:

The Training 

Cosmetic dentists undergo extensive training to master several dental procedures to improve the appearance of smiles. While general dentists cover basic services like fillings, root canals, and gum disease treatment, cosmetic dentists specialize in addressing dental issues with an emphasis on enhancing the aesthetics of the smile. Although they prioritize dental health, their training focuses on achieving attractive results. For example, even for procedures like posterior crowns that aren't readily visible, cosmetic dentists ensure they blend seamlessly with surrounding teeth.

When it comes to training, general dentists typically complete minimal additional education after dental school. However, cosmetic dentists invest significant time in attending seminars and programs and obtaining advanced certifications. This specialized training allows them to excel in specific cosmetic procedures. For instance, becoming a preferred Invisalign provider requires thorough training and certification, illustrating the dedication of cosmetic dentists to transforming smiles.

Difference in Experience 

When it comes to experience, both types of dentists have skills in performing various procedures. However, a cosmetic dentist specializes in aesthetic treatments like veneers and performs them regularly, gaining significant expertise in the process. For patients seeking to enhance their smile, it's often advisable to choose a cosmetic dentist for the best outcomes.

While a general dentist may offer some cosmetic procedures, they may not have the same level of experience or practice frequency as a cosmetic dentist. What truly sets a cosmetic dentist apart is their extensive experience, regular practice in aesthetic treatments, and commitment to continuous education and improvement.

Patient Goals: 

General dentists primarily focus on maintaining overall dental health, aiming to prevent and treat common oral issues such as cavities, gum disease, and infections. Their goal is to ensure the functionality and health of the teeth and gums, addressing concerns like tooth decay, pain, and oral hygiene. 

On the other hand, cosmetic dentists prioritize enhancing smile aesthetics, concentrating on improving the appearance of the teeth and smile. Their main objective is to address cosmetic concerns such as discoloration, misalignment, chips, gaps, and irregularities to achieve a more attractive smile. Cosmetic dentists work closely with patients to know their cosmetic goals and customize treatments accordingly, aiming to fulfill their aesthetic preferences and desires.

Do Cosmetic Dentists Cost More? 

Cosmetic dentists invest in extra seminars and training post-dental school to keep updated with the latest advancements. Their main goal is to give patients beautiful, healthier smiles. However, this added training results in higher costs for patients. Typically, cosmetic dentists charge more than general dentists due to spending more time with patients and performing more complex procedures.

How to Choose Between a Cosmetic Dentist and a General Dentist?

Deciding which dentist to visit depends on the specific procedure you require. If you're facing a dental emergency, a general dentist is usually the best option, while a cosmetic dentist is preferred for cosmetic treatments like professional teeth whitening. Consider factors such as cost and experience when making your decision. Many patients prioritize the dentist who can offer the best results. A cosmetic dentist is often the preferred choice for achieving a stunning smile. However, a general dentist is perfectly qualified to provide excellent care for routine cleanings and checkups.


Understanding the key difference between cosmetic dentist and regular dentist is crucial for making informed decisions about your dental care. While both types of dentists play important roles in maintaining oral health, they have distinct focuses and areas of expertise. Whether you're seeking routine dental maintenance or cosmetic enhancements for your smile, knowing which dentist to visit can lead to better outcomes and satisfaction with your dental treatment.

Ready to learn more about the difference between cosmetic dentist and regular dentist? Schedule an appointment with Arlington Dental Excellence in Arlington, VA. Book online today or call us at (703) 420-3253 for new patients and (703) 525-0157 for all other callers.


What procedures can a cosmetic dentist perform that a regular dentist cannot? 

Cosmetic dentists specialize in procedures focused on improving the appearance of the teeth and smile, such as teeth whitening, veneers, and dental bonding, which regular dentists may not commonly offer.

Is there a price difference between cosmetic dentistry and regular dentistry? 

Yes, cosmetic dentistry procedures often come with a higher price tag compared to regular dental services due to the specialized training, advanced techniques, and materials used in cosmetic treatments.

Can a regular dentist perform emergency dental care? 

Yes, general dentists are equipped to handle emergency dental situations, including toothaches, broken teeth, and other urgent oral health concerns.

Privacy Policy: We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.
Please call us at (703) 420-3253 if you have any problems with the form.
crossmenu Skip to content