General vs. Cosmetic Dentistry

Bernardsville Dentist Serving Morristown, Basking Ridge, Mendham, Chester, & Far Hills, NJ


Many patients ask us what the difference is between general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. Some patients believe that general dentistry is all about tooth health and cosmetic dentistry is only about the aesthetics of a smile.

However, that is only half right. Cosmetic dentistry treats the same dental problems that general dentistry treats while maintaining or improving the natural beauty of your smile.

No More Metal Mouth

Traditionally, metal composite fillings have been used in dental restorations for centuries, despite research that has shown that traces of mercury vapor can be released into the mouth and surrounding dental tissues by metal amalgam. Gold crowns and dental fillings do not contain mercury, but are still subject to constant expansion and contraction caused by heat and cold that can damage tooth structure.

Because of the potential dangers of metal amalgam fillings, the damage caused to teeth by metal fillings and crowns expanding and contracting over time, and the unaesthetic nature of metal of any kind in the mouth, porcelain is now used almost exclusively by cosmetic dentists to repair any type of damage to teeth. Despite research results, some general dentists still maintain that metal amalgam fillings pose no danger to your dental or overall health. We disagree.

Contrasting General and Cosmetic Dentistry

General and cosmetic dentistry both treat many of the same dental issues, such as:

  • Cavities
  • Broken or damaged teeth
  • Misaligned, crowded or gapping teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Decaying teeth

However, general dentistry uses older techniques which do not address the appearance of your smile.

General dentistry uses:

  • Metal fillings (expand and contract with heat and cold, damage base tooth, potential source for heavy metal toxicity)
  • Metal crowns (highly visible and unattractive)
  • Metal braces (uncomfortable, highly visible)
  • Removable dentures (sometimes ill fitting, often look fake)
  • Fixed bridges (placement requires damage to part of teeth’s structure)

Cosmetic dentistry uses:

Each type of dentistry addresses the same issues, but only cosmetic dentists make it our job to protect the aesthetics and integrity as well as the health of your smile.

If you would like to learn more about why and how we provide Morristown, NJ with the latest in cosmetic dentistry techniques, or to schedule your consultation, please contact Aesthetic Dentistry of Bernardsville using our online form or calling (800) 672-8518 today.