First, it’s really important to understand that cosmetic dentistry is not a board-certified specialty. Therefore any (and every) dentist is allowed to market him/herself as a cosmetic dentist whether or not he/she has received special training. So how do you find the right dentist with the right training, skill, and experience to get the results you want for your smile and your facial esthetics?
Here are some questions you should ask and things you should look in order to find the right dentist for you.
- How much and what kind of post-graduate training and experience does the dentist have? A dentist who is serious about focusing his/her practice to be specialized in cosmetic procedures will attend hundreds and hundreds of hours of highly specialized post graduate training in order to achieve the skill and expertise needed to deliver excellence in cosmetic dentistry procedures. In the last decade the technology and methodology in cosmetic dentistry has changed (improved) so dramatically, that constant education is necessary to stay up-to-date. These industry improvements benefit your smile in major ways. The major benefits to your smile include less drilling of your teeth, higher esthetics in improved porcelains, and results that last longer. If your dentist stays on top of this training and technology, he or she will be eager to talk about it and show you earned certificates and awards.
- What does the dentist’s work look like? Serious cosmetic dentists will have their work displayed around the dental practice, on websites, and ready to show you when you ask. If your dentist has skill and experience, it will show in the work he/she has accomplished. And, you should see examples of cases like yours with results you really like. Every patient has a different desire for his/her smile. Some want “Hollywood,” some want natural, and some want a combination of the two. Your dentist should have a variety of results, including several that resemble the results you desire for your smile.
- What kind of lab does the dentist use? Dental labs are a dime a dozen and they vary like you wouldn’t believe. Some labs ship their work from mills in China using unknown materials. Other labs look like pristine, sterile surgical suites and have skilled artists (master ceramists) who design and create every dental restoration that comes out of the lab. Serious skilled cosmetic dentists partner with skilled master ceramists. They communicate and work closely with one another on every case from to start to finish. There are not many top-notch master ceramists around, and the best cosmetic dentists likely use ceramists who live and work far away.
- What do patients say about the dentist? ONLINE REVIEWS are an excellent resource for you when you’re searching for the right provider. In this day and age when time is so precious, it says a lot when patients are impressed enough to take the time to generously share about their experience in a dental practice and the smile results they have personally experienced.
- Don’t forget your “gut feeling.” When you meet with prospective cosmetic dentists and interview them (sometimes this is a consultation appointment), what feel do you get from them? If you have a list of possible cosmetic dentists, and they all meet your qualifications, then tune into your intuition? What feeling do you get with them? Are they genuine? Did they cover up their personality by boasting or flirting? Do they seem like they will communicate well with you? Do they listen to your wants and needs and seem to understand the results you want for your smile and your beauty? Once you’ve qualified the dentist’s expertise, make sure you like him/her and will feel comfortable spending a lot of time in his/her care.