What are the key differences when comparing Falls Church, Va orthodontics vs cosmetic dentistry?  Aren’t those phrases two different ways of saying the same thing?

Those are great questions, and the answers to them are a bit more involved than you might think.  The simple answer is that they’re different. In this article, we’ll go into more depth than that, and explain exactly why.

Let’s start by looking at exactly what each phrase means.  Cosmetic dentistry is focused squarely on improving the aesthetic of your smile.  Building a great smile has many components, but the two biggest are straight teeth and white teeth.

Orthodontic dentistry is concerned with the topography of your teeth.  It focuses on straightening your teeth, repairing and reshaping misshapen teeth, correcting over- or underbites, and the like.  As you can see then, when comparing Falls Church, Va orthodontics vs cosmetic dentistry, although there are differences, there are also areas of considerable overlap.

Perhaps the best way to underscore the similarities and differences is to take a closer look at some of the services we provide to see how and why they fall into each category, so we’ll do that next.

Teeth Whitening Treatments

Although these kinds of treatments seek to change the color of your teeth, they do nothing to change the topography of your mouth, and for that reason, teeth whitening is considered to be strictly a cosmetic procedure.

Note that we offer three different whitening treatments:  Our in-office treatment, the Whitening for Life program, and our Kor Whitening System.  Although these three are very different kinds of treatments, they all seek to accomplish the same basic goal, so all three would be considered cosmetic in their nature.

Porcelain Veneers

This is also considered a cosmetic treatment.  Rather than seeking to modify the shape of your teeth, the goal here is to simply cover it over with a better looking exterior.  It’s like putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls of a room, rather than knocking out a wall or reshaping the house to create more space.

Often, porcelain veneers are used to cover over chipped or broken areas of a tooth, or to hide a deep, persistent stain.  Again, cosmetic.


Braces are an interesting treatment in the discussion of the comparison of Falls Church, Va orthodontics vs cosmetic dentistry, because a case could reasonably be made for both.  Because braces seek to reshape the teeth themselves, however, by altering their position, this is seen as an orthodontic treatment that has a cosmetic component, and not, strictly speaking, a cosmetic procedure.

Note that this is true of conventional braces and our two braces alternatives, the Six Month Smiles program and Invisalign.

If that explanation left you with some lingering questions, we’ll be more than happy to answer them!  Just give our office a call.