Aesthetic Dentistry vs Cosmetic Dentistry: How are they Different?


Aesthetic Dentistry vs Cosmetic Dentistry: How are they Different?

What is the difference between aesthetic dentistry and cosmetic dentistry?

Wanting to make an alteration to your smile but having a hard time deciding what kind of dentistry will best suit your needs?  Trying to discern the difference between cosmetic dentistry and aesthetic dentistry can be difficult and will most likely leave you more confused and no closer to making an informed decision.  This is not surprising as the difference is relatively elusive.

What is General Dentistry?

Let’s start at the baseline, general dentistry.  The “General Dentist” category is pretty self explanatory: general dentists are your primary dental provider and take care of all of your teeth’s general needs: cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals, caps, diagnostics, etc.  They are responsible for managing your overall oral wellness through diagnosing and treating oral issues as well as administering preventative care and educating patients on oral health.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Instead of focusing on the general health of your teeth, cosmetic dentistry centers upon the visual aspects of your smile.  The whiteness, straightness, and shape of your teeth are highlighted considerations.  The aim of cosmetic dentistry is to get you your hollywood-worthy “perfect” smile through methods such as whitening, tooth shaping, gum alteration, tooth straightening, and veneers. Cosmetic dentists are general dentists who undergo some amount of additional training to be proficient in different cosmetic procedures.  While many general dentists are qualified to do some of the same practices, such as applying veneers, cosmetic dentists are typically more up-to-date on the newest technology and materials.  Before assuming that all cosmetic dentists are equally qualified, however, it is important to note that there is a wide range of skill among cosmetic dentists.  With just a few extra courses, any general dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist, meaning that just because a cosmetic dentist has that title, they may not actually be much more highly trained than your average general dentist.  Something to look for is a cosmetic dentist that is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.  The AACD offers even more workshops and courses to ensure that their members are on the forefront of cosmetic advancements.

What is Aesthetic Dentistry?

Aesthetic dentistry is more of a different approach to cosmetic dentistry than it is a different branch.  While cosmetic dentistry avails itself of all the latest methods necessary to get you the whitest, most uniform, picture-perfect smile, aesthetic dentistry has a slightly different goal: to improve your smile while keeping it as natural-looking and healthy as possible.  Cosmetic dentists that specialize in aesthetic dentistry are concerned not only with the look of your teeth, but also with their function, health, and “you-ness”.  If you are looking for a brighter, improved smile, but still want your smile to look like “you”, aesthetic dentistry is your ticket.  When working to improve your smile, they take into consideration things like your facial structure, natural tooth color, and tooth shape, and will resolve any underlying issues to best bring out and enhance your unique smile’s natural beauty.  Dentists practicing aesthetic dentistry use all the same avenues as cosmetic dentistry, and have all the same training, but make a specific effort to balance appearance with health to give you the best overall result possible.

In conclusion, cosmetic dentistry and aesthetic dentistry are similar in many ways and can both help you obtain the million-dollar smile you are looking for, but differ in their approach to realizing that goal.  Your smile is an important feature of who you are and successfully achieving your ideal smile demands that consideration be given to which method is most in line with your specific needs and desired outcome.

Larsen Family Dentistry of Jackson Hole Wyoming

Voted Jackson Hole's best dentist for 10 years in a row, we're in the business of keeping the Jackson smiling! Whether you need a cleaning, have some aches and pains, or want to give your pearly whites a cosmetic make over, we're here and ready help you feel good about your teeth.


With over 10 years of dentistry experience in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Larsen Family Dentistry provides personable, quality, and affordable dental care to men and women of all ages. If you're looking for high quality and personal service, you've come to the right place. It is our passion to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.