If you’ve decided to aesthetically improve your teeth, your first step will be to select a cosmetic dentist that’s perfect for you. You need to put a lot of work into this because as cosmetic dentistry isn’t an officially recognized specialty, any dentist can bear the title of “Cosmetic Dentist”. You might not get the best results from someone who only has surface knowledge of the craft.
A cosmetic dentist provides a whole range of services such as teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, composite bonding, and others. You want to make sure the cosmetic dentist you pick is an expert and will give you the value of your money.
CHOOSING A COSMETIC DENTIST
While it can be tempting to merely choose a cosmetic dentist based on your wallet and convenience, you shouldn’t be too cheap. Often (although not always), cheap works mean unprofessional works that you could regret later. A professional cosmetic dentist will work with you to find a treatment option that fits your budget.
ASK FOR REFERRALS
The first thing to do when you want to pick a cosmetic dentist is to ask for referrals. If you have any friends or family who’ve had professional work done on their teeth, you should ask them for a referral. You could also ask your regular dentist to refer you to a professional cosmetic dentist they recommend. After doing this, you should check out the referred doctors’ websites for reviews or contact their offices for more information.
Even if a recommended dentist has great reviews and a nice website, you should still check out his or her credentials. You want to make sure that the doctor is qualified to work on your smile. Things to look out for when checking out credentials are:
- Time devoted to cosmetic dentistry: It is important to know how many years of experience a person has had practicing cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry places more emphasis on the craft, rather than science. In any art, experience is crucial. The selected cosmetic dentist should have devoted a notable amount of time to cosmetic dentistry.
- Continuation courses: You should check out the prospective cosmetic dentists’ education history online. What you’re mainly looking to check is if they took a continuation course. Most dental schools don’t provide training in cosmetic dentistry. The cosmetic dentist needs to have studied further to master the principles.
- The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry: Most highly qualified cosmetic dentists belong to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. This is because the AACD offers its members training on the latest procedures, technology, and techniques. The AACD provides the best standards in the field of cosmetic dentistry. It also awards Accreditation for the best cosmetic dentists.
REQUEST FOR PICTURES OF THEIR PAST WORKS
You should request to see before and after pictures of the cosmetic dentists’ past works, although you might not have to. Most dentists like to show off pictures of their works on their websites or online smile galleries. Beware that some consist of stocked or retouched photos. Instead, ask the dentist if he or she can refer you to past patients that you can contact personally.
MAKE APPOINTMENTS WITH AT LEAST TWO COSMETIC DENTISTS
You want to be able to make the best choice possible. Book appointments. Hear both of them out. You should compare their methods, costs, and general impressions. For example, Doctor A could be a straight, no-nonsense person who dives straight into the work, but you may like Doctor B’s cheerful personality. They’re both good at their jobs, but in the end, you should pick what makes you comfortable. A couple of things you should look out for during your visit are:
- Your surroundings: The offices and waiting rooms should be clean and pleasant. It should have the aura of a doctor’s office without any of the fear that normally inspires.
- The Staff: The dentist’s office staff should be professional and courteous. You don’t want to go to a place that’s staffed with people that make you uncomfortable.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
You must know exactly what you want to be done to your teeth before you get there. The dentist will usually make suggestions on what he or she can do for you, but you must have a set goal in mind that they can follow before adding any other thing. Make a detailed wishlist to present to the dentist during your consultation.
COMMUNICATE FREELY DURING YOUR CONSULTATION
You should take time to clearly explain your goals and listen to the dentist’s suggestions. Ask about how long each treatment will take and the effects.
You should also discuss payment options that could match your budget as most cosmetic dental treatments aren’t covered under insurance. The dentist is open to flexible payment terms.
In the end, it’s your teeth and your smile you’re making adjustments to. You should go with what makes you comfortable and will bring you the most satisfaction in the long run.