We get it; when it comes to dental care, the terminology can sometimes be confusing. So, what exactly sets a private dentist apart from a cosmetic dentist? While both aim to enhance your smile and ensure your oral health, they focus on different aspects of dental care.

In this article, we are going to be taking a closer look at these two dental professionals to help you see what similarities and differences they share.

That way, you will be able to make informed decisions about your dental health and aesthetic goals. Let’s get into it.

private and a cosmetic dentist

Who is a Private Dentist?

Let’s start off with who a private dentist is. A private dentist is a dental professional who operates outside the public health system, offering a wide array of dental services on a fee-for-service basis.

Unlike public dental services, which may have long waiting lists and limited treatment options, private dental professionals provide immediate, comprehensive, and personalised dental care.

Patients choose private dentistry for its flexibility in appointment scheduling, access to advanced treatments, and the option for enhanced dental aesthetics.

From routine check-ups and cleanings to complex dental procedures, a private dentist caters to all aspects of oral health, ensuring patients receive the highest standard of dental care tailored to their individual needs.

Who is a Cosmetic Dentist?

A cosmetic dentist (also aesthetic dentist) specialises in improving the appearance of your teeth, gums, and smile. Their focus is on aesthetic dental procedures that enhance the visual aspects of your dentition.

While these professionals prioritise aesthetics, they also ensure the functionality and health of your mouth are maintained. Their goal is to combine art and science to create beautiful, natural-looking results that boost confidence and contribute to overall oral health.

What Services Does a Cosmetic Dentist Provide?

A cosmetic dentist offers a variety of dental treatments aimed at enhancing the appearance of your smile. Key services include:

  • Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures. It can significantly brighten and improve the appearance of stained or discoloured teeth.
  • Dental Veneers: These are thin, custom-made shells designed to cover the front surface of teeth, correcting issues like chips, stains, gaps, or misshapen teeth.
  • Dental Bonding: Dental bonding is a procedure where a tooth-coloured resin is applied and hardened with a special light. Bonding can repair decayed, chipped, fractured, or discoloured teeth.
  • Dental Crowns: Used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth, crowns enhance the appearance, shape, or alignment of teeth.
  • Orthodontics: Including clear aligners like Invisalign, orthodontic treatments align and straighten teeth, improving both function and aesthetics.
  • Gum Contouring: This procedure reshapes the gum line to improve the appearance of the smile. It is often used to correct a “gummy” smile.

The Key Differences Between a Private and a Cosmetic Dentist

While both of these dental professionals are dedicated to improving your oral health and smile, they focus on different aspects of dental care. So, let’s quickly break down the key differences between the two.

Scope of Services

Private dentists offer a broad range of dental services, including preventive, restorative, and sometimes cosmetic treatments.

In contrast, aesthetic dentists specialise in treatments primarily aimed at enhancing the appearance of your teeth and smile.

Treatment Focus

The primary focus of a private dentist is to ensure overall oral health, diagnosing and treating dental issues, and providing routine care. Aesthetic dentists, however, are mainly focused on aesthetic outcomes, striving to improve the visual aspects of the teeth and gums.


Both types of dentists undergo extensive dental training, but cosmetic dentists may pursue additional education and training specifically in cosmetic procedures to master the art and science of smile enhancement.

Patient Goals

Patients typically visit private dentists for general dental care and maintenance, whereas they seek out aesthetic dentists for specific aesthetic improvements to their smile.

Which Type of Dentist Should You Choose?

Deciding whether to visit a private dentist or a cosmetic dentist depends on your specific dental needs and goals.

If you’re seeking comprehensive dental care, including routine check-ups, cleanings, and treatments for dental issues, a private dentist is your go-to professional. They are equipped to handle a wide range of dental needs, ensuring your overall oral health is maintained.

On the other hand, if your primary concern is improving the aesthetic appearance of your smile, a cosmetic dentist is more suited to your needs. They specialise in procedures that enhance the look of your teeth and gums, helping you achieve the smile you desire.

Whether it’s whitening, straightening, or reshaping your teeth, an aesthetic dentist has the tools and expertise to transform your smile.