Cosmetic dentistry is simply any dental practice designed to improve the appearance of your teeth, gums, or bite. The value of a flawless smile is difficult to quantify, but if you feel you need cosmetic dentistry, you are likely already aware of the impact your teeth have on your overall confidence. So then, how do you choose a cosmetic dentist?
When looking for a cosmetic dentist, don’t be afraid to take your time. After all, cosmetic procedures are hardly emergencies so you should have plenty of time to learn about your particular procedure and possible dentists with experience in that procedure. You can even decide what types of techniques, materials, and procedures you are most interested in, as many cosmetic problems can be solved with different procedures. You should arrange for consultations with various dentists and ask them about their expertise.
Before choosing a cosmetic dentist, you should ensure that they are trained accordingly. Generally speaking, you want to find a practitioner that not only has the technical and artistic skill to achieve the best results but one whose skill is supported by professional, post-graduate training in cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry is not a major component of most dental schools, and many dentists rely on on-the-job training for cosmetic procedures. Obviously, you do not want to be a test case, so ask your dentist not only about past post-graduate studies but also which courses s/he takes to keep on top of this rapidly changing field.
As is the case in all medical fields, specialty credentials indicate that your dentist has achieved a higher level of education and subsequently expertise in a particular area. This is also true of cosmetic dentistry and organizations such as the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry are dedicated to ensuring that accredited dentists meet a standard level of care and ability.
In addition to finding a dentist with the correct training and credentials, you also want to find somebody with integrity. By speaking with friends, colleagues, and even past clients, you can ensure that your cosmetic dentist is honest and skilled. Your choice needs to be somebody who can define expectations from particular procedures, while also providing you with examples of past successes. If a potential practitioner refuses to provide references, move on.
Professionalism in the medical field extends beyond having the necessary qualifications, training, and experience. Indeed, you want to consider the environment the dentist works in as well as his/her communication style. Dental offices should be clean, organized, and sterile and your dentist should be happy to give you a tour during the consultation. Furthermore, when you meet with a cosmetic dentist, make sure you are comfortable and that you can communicate easily with your dental professionals. In the end, a dentist who can fulfill all your expectations while putting you at ease during the process will probably provide you with excellent cosmetic results.
The unfortunate fact is that many dentists will identify as cosmetic dentists, regardless of their specialty or experience, so you should be sure to vet potential cosmetic dentists thoroughly.