Any general dentist can claim to be a cosmetic dentist.† Many do.† If you are interested in a cosmetic dental procedure, your first step is to select the dentist who will do the work.† Important factors to consider include the dentistís education, recommendations, and experience with the procedure you need.
If you are considering cosmetic dentistry, one of your most important decisions will be selecting which dentist will do the work.† Donít expect this to be a quick process.† It will require considerable legwork.† And though this process should result in finding the right doctor, it is just as much about educating yourself about the procedure and what to expect.† The more time you put into the process, the happier you will be with the results.The Dentistís EducationAny general dentist can claim to be a cosmetic dentist.† Many do.† Unlike, many other fields of medicine, there is no requirement for a formal accreditation to claim to be a cosmetic dentist.† Because of this, you may find wide differences in the skill and artistry required for cosmetic dentistry.†† All dentists have been thoroughly trained in the functional aspects of dentistry, e.g. creating tooth-colored fillings, but are not necessarily as trained in the esthetic aspects of cosmetic dentistry.You should expect that, in the least, the cosmetic dentist has participated in continuing education on topics pertaining to cosmetic dentistry.† Better yet, check to see if the dentist completed postgraduate programs in cosmetic dentistry. The staff at the dental office should be able to provide you with this information.Creating Your ListBefore selecting a cosmetic dentist, plan on first consulting with two to three.† To start, youíll want to develop a short list of dentists.† Here are some ways you may create a list:1. Get recommendations from your family dentist2. Get recommendations from friends, colleagues and co-workers who have had cosmetic work done3. Search the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry member list: http://www.aacd.com With more than 5000 members, this is the largest and most reputable cosmetic dental association.† 4. Search the web.† Cosmetic dentists are increasingly offering informative websites with much more information than youíll find in a yellow pages ad. If youíve come up with more than three dentists, youíll want to narrow it down based on the level of education and accreditation of the dentist and the strength of their referrals. ConsultationsCosmetic dentists typically offer free consultations for prospective patients. This is your chance to interview the dentist and ask any questions you may have such as:1. What is the recommended procedure and what are the results that you can expect?2. What is anticipated recovery time?3. Are there any possible complications and are there things that the dentist will not be able to improve upon?4. What before and after pictures are available?† Youíll want to make sure the pictures are of work that he himself has performed and that they are of procedures similar to what you plan to have done.5. How much will it cost and when will the payment be due?6. Are former patients available as references?Your rapport with the dentist is important and you should feel comfortable asking the dentist questions and should be confident that the dentist has answered them thoroughly.The DecisionAfter 2-3 consultations, you should have had the opportunity to ask many questions and should thoroughly understand the recommended procedure.† At this point, you may be leaning heavily toward a dentist.† If not, and you are left with several good options, let the dentistís experience and education be the tie breaker for you. These are the most difficult to achieve and most likely factors to predict the best outcome for you.† Good luck!