General vs. Cosmetic Dentist: Which Is the Better Option

General vs. Cosmetic Dentist: Which Is the Better Option from Oak Tree Dental in McLean, VAIf you need a specific dental procedure done or are looking for a new provider to take care of your smile, it is important to understand whether a general dentist or cosmetic dentist is the right professional for the needed services. While both types of dentists are required to have achieved a doctor of dental surgery or a doctor of medicine in dentistry degree, each focuses on unique aspects of dental work. If not sure which provider to go to, patients should make the following considerations.

What is the goal of treatment?

Patients should consider the goal of any dental work when choosing the type of dental provider to address the situation.

Prevent or treat dental health issues

For patients who need treatment to address a dental health issue, visiting a general dentist is a good choice. People often feel more comfortable having procedures done by someone they already have an established relationship with. Additionally, this provider is a better fit if an individual does not need a specific procedure done and is only trying to find a provider who can perform routine cleanings and examinations.

Achieve a more attractive smile

While cosmetic dentists started in general dentistry and have adequate experience and knowledge about dental health, these dental professionals specialize in procedures concerned with the aesthetics of the mouth. If a patient’s primary goal is to achieve brighter, straighter teeth and an overall more beautiful smile, a cosmetic dentist can help.

What services are needed?

There is often some overlap in the procedures that can be performed by a general dentist and those that can be provided by a cosmetic dentist. Some patients may first ask the provider they regularly see about a certain service only to learn it is not offered by the general dentist.

General dentists are primarily concerned with preventative care and oral health treatments, which often include treating cavities, performing root canals, addressing chipped teeth, whitening teeth, and installing crowns.

Cosmetic dentists offer a larger selection of aesthetic-focused services that can be used to completely transform an individual’s smile:

  • Crowns: Caps, often made from porcelain, that cover a tooth or an implant to restore function and make it more attractive
  • Veneers: Porcelain or composite resin shells placed on the outside of a tooth to cover up blemishes and improve shape and shade
  • Bonding: A procedure involving the placement of tooth-colored resin to address chips, reshape the tooth, or close gaps between the teeth
  • Inlays and onlays: Restorative treatments used instead of fillings to cover cavities and preserve tooth structure
  • Teeth whitening: Custom at-home trays or in-house bleaching for whitening the teeth and removing stains
  • Teeth shaping: The process of removing parts of a tooth’s enamel to make its shape more desirable
  • Gum contouring: A procedure used to shorten and contour the gum, often used for people with a “gummy smile”

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Cosmetic Dentist in McLean, VA

Conclusion

Anyone who needs dental work performed should understand the different types of dental providers available before deciding who will do the procedure. While general dentists offer a broad range of services and are highly skilled at addressing oral health concerns, a cosmetic dentist is the ideal provider for improving the overall appearance of the mouth.

Request an appointment or call Oak Tree Dental at 703-763-5239 for an appointment in our McLean office.

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