How to select a Cosmetic Dentist
Cosmetic Dentistry is not a specialty. Every dentist advertises that they are a cosmetic dentist, so how do you pick a dentist to give you a beautiful, lasting smile?
After all, your smile is essentially one of your most important features! You spend a lot of time researching shoes, clothing, purses, cars, you name it. All these “things” come and go, but a smile is forever. Why would you not do your due diligence when it comes to something so important?
After practicing dentistry for over 15 years in both Orange County California and Louisville Kentucky, here is my opinion:
1. Experience does matter. Find a dentist that has proven he/she has a passion for cosmetic dentistry. The easiest way to do this is to select a accredited cosmetic dentist. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry offers a program where a dentist can become accredited in the art of cosmetic dentistry. This is a rigorous program that few pass, but once they do they truly are expert smile designers. Currently there are under 300 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world!
2. Walk the talk. The old saying: “Watch one, do one, teach one” really does apply. You cannot be a cosmetic dentist if you have not watched and learned how to do it, then practiced how to do it, and finally at the pinnacle of knowledge taught how to do it. If your dentist is teaching other dentists how to do it, then they probably know how to do it pretty well themselves. There are only a few dentists in the nation that are speakers on cosmetic dentistry. These dentists would be my first choice as a patient.
3. Passion Passion Passion. So, we all know that if you love what you do you do a better job. Does your dentist love what he/she does? Are they passionate? Are they excited to show you all the before and after photos of their work? Do they write blogs about what they do? Do they have a smile on their own faces? Do not, under any circumstance, ever, pick a dentist that does not like what they do.
4. Team. A dental office that provides quality cosmetic dentistry requires a top of the line team. I could not do what I do without my team, they are the best. Everybody from the front office to the assistant need to love what they do. If the team is not top notch, how can the dentistry be top notch?
5. Laboratory. Top notch cosmetic dentistry is not made in China, but that does not stop many dentists from sending their dentistry to China to be made. If you want a beautiful smile you need a top notch dental laboratory technician. There are several great lab technicians in the USA that can give you the smile of your dreams, but I guarantee you that any dentist that subscribes to in-network insurance here in Kentucky will never use them for one simple reason, and that is cost. You get what you pay for in dentistry. Like it or not, quality dentistry costs more money. Quality dental technicians are expensive. Quality materials cost more. Quality training for the dentist to become a top notch cosmetic dentistry takes time and money, quality team players cost money, and so forth. There is no way around this, you truly get what you pay for in dentistry.
6. Do it right the first time. Too often I see patients that come to me for a second opinion AFTER they had poor dentistry done. This only results in more discomfort, cost and time issues…Pick the best dentist you can afford now. Find someone that teaches you how to FIX your mouth, not just patch what is causing it to break down. There are ways today to prevent the need for dentistry for a long time!!!
So, when you are looking for a dentist, especially a cosmetic dentist, consider the facts above. Pick wisely…Dentistry is not a commodity, it is an art. Do it right the first time and save not only on time and money, but frustration and discomfort as well.