CHOOSING A COSMETIC DENTIST
Today more than ever, the choice of a cosmetic dentist is a critical decision that should be made with the utmost care. So how do you choose a cosmetic dentist? After all, in today’s marketplace, many general dentists perform at least some types of cosmetic dental procedures. Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic influx of ‘cosmetic dentists’ into the field so much so that in the industry, being a ‘cosmetic dentist’ is almost a cliché . . . passé’. Why? Because these days, any general dentist who does things as simple as whitening teeth can claim to be a cosmetic dentist. So when someone is looking to get a Hollywood smile, what should they expect? Are all dentists the same? Choosing the right cosmetic dentist for you, one with substantial experience in complex cases, extensive hands-on training, and a gentle approach that compliments your needs and wants is critical to achieving the most successful outcome – your gorgeous new smile. Selecting a cosmetic dentist can be a difficult and confusing process. In the end, it is a personal decision and we suggest that liking the dentist is a key element. We can, however, offer some advice, which our guests have found helpful during the selection process. TAKE YOUR TIME. Most cosmetic dental procedures are elective procedures, not emergencies. Time spent learning about the dental procedures, different techniques and materials, and cosmetic dentists you are considering will pay great dividends in terms of your understanding and emotional comfort later. If in doubt, see a couple different accredited cosmetic dentists for a consultation. This will clarify in your own mind those personal characteristics that you would like your cosmetic dentists to have. We are always happy to provide second opinions.
POST GRADUATE COSMETIC DENTAL TRAINING
To perform cosmetic dental procedures at the highest level; technical skill, an artistic eye, and a rigorous program of post-graduate training in cosmetic dentistry is needed. It may surprise you to learn that the vast majority of dental schools don’t teach any courses in cosmetic dentistry. For the few that do, they are usually limited to only a few introductory courses. Your mouth is not the place for on-the-job training. Therefore, it is crucial that the cosmetic dentist that you select continually completes series of hands-on courses in cosmetic dentistry. The field changes rapidly and it is vital to keep abreast of current techniques. In depth training is essential to learn the latest techniques and materials to get optimal results. The significance lies not only in developing the dentist’s clinical judgment and technical skill, but also in demonstrating his/her commitment to practicing cosmetic dentistry at the highest level of excellence.
PROFESSIONAL COSMETIC DENTISTRY CREDENTIALS
In dentistry as in medicine, specialties exist that indicate a higher level of education, knowledge, and expertise in particular areas of focus. Presently, however, there is not recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry. We recommend that cosmetic dentists should be a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) and British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD). They represent the largest international dental organisations dedicated specifically to the art and science of cosmetic dentistry and they administer accreditation programs for cosmetic dentistry. The accreditation process is a rigorous program, which requires dentists to attend a number of continuing education courses in cosmetic dentistry, be tested, and submit a number of cosmetic cases to be judged by a panel of cosmetic dentistry experts. Our Clinical Director, Dr Uchenna Okoye is on the Accreditation Board for BACD
A CARING APPROACH & GREAT COMMUNICATION
Find a doctor with a good chairside manner who conveys to you that they care about you as a person as well as a client. Cosmetic dentistry is a process not a single operation. Find someone with whom you can talk easily. It is just as important that he/she understands what you desire as that you understand what they are describing. To accomplish these goals, the first thing the cosmetic dentist should do is listen and make sure they understand all your concerns, needs and desires as they relate to your dental health and the look of your smile. Only then should they spend time diagnosing and consulting on the recommended treatment plan, which should be individualized for each client.
AN ARTISTIC EYE
While technical virtuosity is necessary to produce a great clinical result, it is not sufficient. Excellent cosmetic dentistry demands a highly sophisticated artistic sense. In order to achieve an optimal aesthetic result, one must have a clear vision of what is artistically possible and appropriate. In this regard, it helps greatly if the cosmetic dentist works closely with the master ceramist, talking with them about the desired aesthetic results.
SMILE DESIGN EXPERIENCE
Before you randomly select a dentist out of the phone book or rely on your long-time family dentist to give you the smile design of your dreams, think again. Great cosmetic dentistry is an art. The fact is, many dentists are generalists who simply have not performed cosmetic smile designs very many times or with a regularity that leads to mastery of this art. So, if you are considering veneers, for example, you should ask exactly how many veneers the dentist has placed. Make sure you review the portfolio of the work actually carried out by the cosmetic dentist. Beware that there are commercially available photos and albums that show the possibilities for cosmetic dentistry. But you want to confirm that you are seeing actual work of the dentist you are considering and make sure that the ‘before’ photos you look at are also cases similar to yours.
How does the practice look, feel, even smell. The care and attention placed in the facilities will reflect their care of you. How friendly are the staff, do they anticipate your needs, is it a happy environment? These are some of the tangible factors that can help you assess how the team may take care of you!