There is no shortage of dentists in most metropolitan areas. So when you see a dental office on every corner, how do you know which one you should choose? It can be difficult for non-dental people to distinguish among various dentists, especially when you are looking for something specific. This blog, aimed at cosmetic dentistry, will help you know what to look for in a great cosmetic dentist.
What is a Cosmetic Dentist?
Actually, this is a trick question. There is no current board-certified specialty in dentistry for a cosmetic category. When a dentist or dental practice advertises themselves as a “cosmetic dentist”, they simply mean that they provide cosmetic dentistry trea tment options. It does not mean that they are “specialists”.
This makes things really confusing because there are some general dentists who do not call themselves cosmetic dentists and yet perform beautiful cosmetic dental work for their patients. Typically, a dentist who loves and excels at cosmetic dental treatments will invest his or her time and money on continuing education courses specific to cosmetic dentistry.
So while we do not recommend that you choose a cosmetic dentist strictly based on their advertisements, there are some things to look for that will tell you whether this dentist is a great cosmetic dentist.
What Makes a Cosmetic Dentist Great?
The things that make a dentist an expert in cosmetic dentistry are not readily apparent from reading one’s website or even his or her online reviews. It might require a little investigation on your part to learn whether or not the dentist you are considering is the right one to perform your cosmetic treatments.
Commitment to Continuing Education
In order to be able to provide their p atients with the latest in dental materials and technology, cosmetic dentists must be committed to lifelong learning. Ideally, they are taking courses on cosmetic treatments like porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, and gum reshaping.
There are several organizations devoted to high quality education in cosmetic dentistry, including the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. Dentists who are members of these organizations and regularly attend their scientific sessions are likely to be great cosmetic dentists.
If you are considering a smile makeover with porcelain veneers, it isn’t a good idea to see a dentist who only performs that treatment once or twice a year. You want to see a dentist who does cosmetic work on a frequent basis. A great cosmetic dentist will have a portfolio of photos showing his or her cosmetic cases and will be happy to show it to any prospective patient.
This quality is probably the most commonly overlooked. Did you know it’s quite easy to make all smiles look alike? A great cosmetic dentist will be able to create any type of smile you desire, not just one style. Most people think of porcelain veneers as being perfectly straight and white. That, however, is not the most cosmetic appearance for a smile. A great cosmetic dentist will give you a natural smile. The best compliment someone can give you after having had cosmetic dental work done is asking what’s different or telling you that you have a nice smile, NOT saying that your new veneers look great. The best porcelain veneers will be those that no one can tell are veneers.
How to Find a Great Cosmetic Dentist
Knowing all of the above, now you can start your search for a great cosmetic dentist.
- Membership in the AACD or AAED – Ask if your dentist regularly attends their annual meetings and takes CE classes. If your dentist is a “fellow” in either of these organizations, that means he or she has proven excellence in cosmetic dentistry.
- A diverse portfolio – Ask to see photos of the dentist’s prior cosmetic dental work and look for smiles that look natural, but not “Hollywood perfect” . If all of the smiles appear to be the same, you might want to keep searching.
- Excellent reviews from former cosmetic patients – In today’s world of online everything, you can learn a lot about a dentist from reading reviews from actual patients. Look for statements about patients’ satisfaction with their new smiles, not random angry comments about dental insurance or billing problems.
- Ask for a try-in – A great cosmetic dentist will be able to provide you with an example of what your new smile can look like. It may require a little pre-operative planning and lab work, but it is worth it to get a preview of what the final outcome will be.
More Questions about Cosmetic Dentistry?
Call today to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists. We can answer any question you may have about cosmetic dentistry and help you find the solution that will help you meet your smile goals.