Not All Cosmetic Dentistry Is the Same | Walnut Creek Dentist

When we think of cosmetic dentistry, we generally think of dental work done to improve the look of a smile. And while it’s true – cosmetic dentistry is generally any dental work that improves the appearance, but it also improves the function of a person’s teeth, gums or bite. And while many dentists refer to themselves as cosmetic dentists, there are only two dental specialties that mainly focus on dental aesthetics, or cosmetics – prosthodontics and orthodontics. But what is the difference?

In aesthetic dentistry, the dentist is more focused on restoring teeth to their natural appearance, while cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the color, shape or arrangement of teeth. In other words, cosmetic dental procedures make things look better to the eye of the beholder.

But instead of categorizing these procedures by cosmetic and aesthetic, let’s focus on thinking about them as tooth-friendly (minimally invasive / conservative) and traditional (aggressive) cosmetic dentistry. Tooth-friendly cosmetic dentistry generally does nothing irreversible to the teeth and focuses on treatments such as tooth whitening, resin bonding, or short-term orthodontics. The results of these treatments are reversible and unlikely to jeopardize your long-term dental health. With tooth-friendly treatments, the goal is to make an improvement but not true perfection.

In contrast, traditional cosmetic dentistry can include porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges – anything that involves drilling away a significant volume of otherwise healthy tooth. These treatments carry with them a “need to be re-done” every so often and are usually associated with an increased risk of the treated tooth requiring root treatment in future. The key factor here is once you have them, you are stuck with them for life.

For more information about cosmetic dentistry, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 9255-934-5526 or visit

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.