As cosmetic dentistry becomes more and more popular, many dentists are starting to offer cosmetic procedures, from tooth whitening to porcelain veneers to dental bonding. Not all dentists are truly qualified for this work, though. If you’re considering any kind of cosmetic dentistry procedure, it’s very important to be sure your dentist of choice has the background necessary to provide high-quality results.
Why would your regular dentist not be qualified to perform cosmetic procedures? He or she very well might be. But cosmetic dentistry requires a different set of skills than the standard dental procedures most general dentists perform. Construction of truly customized, natural-looking dental veneers, dental bonding, or other restorations is an art as well as a skill, one which a dentist with no training beyond a regular dental degree might not possess.
If your dentist has performed cosmetic procedures, he or she should be able to answer your questions about how long he’s practiced cosmetic dentistry, what kind of procedures he regularly performs, and what recommendations he would make for your particular needs. If cosmetic dentistry is a major portion of his regular practice, you’re much more likely to receive high-quality treatment. He or she should also have before and after pictures and testimonials from previous patients. This kind of resource can be very helpful in determining if a particular dentist’s approach is likely to give you the results you’re looking for in a cosmetic dentistry procedure.
Another thing to look for is education and accreditation. Is your dentist a member of the American Association of Cosmetic Dentists (AACD)? This organization has rigorous requirements regarding education, practice, and testing in order to become an accredited member, and so can be used as an indication of a solid background in cosmetic dentistry. Did he or she pursue further education beyond securing a basic dental degree? One institution that offers advanced training in cosmetic dentistry is the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. Extended study at this or a similar institute indicates a higher level of knowledge regarding cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Beyond education and experience, you’ll want to be sure to choose a dentist you can talk to. Consultations and discussion are the best way to be sure your cosmetic dentist understands exactly what you expect to achieve with a procedure, and also allows the dentist to ensure you undergo the right procedures to reach your goals. Clear communication is essential, as is a dentist who is willing to listen to your concerns and answer all your questions. Testimonials from previous patients can help you determine how a dentist generally communicates with his patients, and how this might mesh with your personal communication style.
Time to research a cosmetic dentist is probably the most important investment you can make when considering a cosmetic dental procedure. Be sure to invest the time to do a little exploring and ask some questions, and you’re much more likely to be pleased with the results your dentist achieves.