What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

The term “cosmetic” usually brings up images of make-up, beauty salons, or plastic surgery.  “Cosmetic,” when applied to dentistry, is not so elective as these other terms may imply.  Dental Implants are considered cosmetic, as well as veneers, all-porcelain crowns, whitening, and even some gum surgeries.  For many patients, cosmetic dentistry is not merely an elective, but a necessary treatment that also improves quality of life.

Consider that you have a tooth missing and you wish to replace that tooth.  A bridge may be too aggressive if the adjacent teeth have not had large cavities or fillings.  An implant, however, may be the ideal solution.  An implant is placed surgically and painlessly into the area of the missing tooth.  After this area has healed, your dentist places the crown.  Implants are easy to maintain and do not require frequent replacements as a bridge may.  Many insurance companies pay for implant placement.  The aesthetic value of an implant speaks for itself.  Implants look much more natural than a bridge.

Veneers are usually chosen for their aesthetic value rather than as a necessary treatment.  There are instances, however, where veneers may be recommended instead of a crown for large restorations.  For example, a large filling on a front tooth may be a candidate for the more conservative veneer rather than a more aggressive crown treatment.  A tooth in the front that has had a root canal and is now discolored may also be an ideal candidate for a veneer rather than a crown.  Veneers are excellent treatment for teeth that are slightly misaligned, misshapen, or stained from tetracycline or other factors.  Veneers offer a uniform, beautifully aligned and bright smile.  They can give an instant boost to your self-confidence.

All-porcelain crowns are a great alternative to the older technology of metal and porcelain fused to metal crowns.  Porcelain fused to metal often leaves a gray tint showing through the crown as well as the metal line around the gums. All-porcelain crowns offer a natural-looking, beautiful alternative to these other materials and can be used in most cases.

Whitening is the perfect solution for yellow, stained, or darkened teeth.  Even if your teeth are only slightly dark, the power of whitening should not be underestimated.  Your smile is often the first and last impressions people have of you.  When you look into the mirror and smile, do you smile halfway or keep your lips closed when you smile?  Do you often reach up to cover your mouth when laugh or smile in public?  People often notice this as a sign of insecurity with your smile.  When professionally monitored by your dentist, whitening is a safe, cost-effective way to boost your confidence!  If you are considering veneers or crowns on your front teeth, you should seriously consider whitening your teeth first, as crowns, veneers, and fillings would not change color once they are placed.

Cosmetic dentistry is becoming more advanced and popular than ever.  Why not ask your dentist about your best options?

~Thu-Nga H. Ortega, D.D.S.




Fairfax Medical Center. 10721 Main Street, Suite 2200. Fairfax, VA 22030.
Office: (703)-352-3900, Fax: (703) 352-2048


About Thu-Nga Ortega, DDS, MAGD

General, cosmetic and geriatric dentist in Fairfax, Virginia. I believe in providing the most conservative dental care in the most comfortable setting. My care for my patients is my utmost importance. I have been a dentist for over 24 years and was the founder and CEO of Dental Cosmetix. Here conservative dentistry yields the most beautiful and health smiles. I have been awarded the FAGD (Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry in 2007) and then the MAGD ( Master of the Academy of General Dentistry in 2017). I am skilled in providing all facets of dentistry so patients can have all procedures done in one office without being sent to other office for other treatments.
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