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How to Choose a Cosmetic Dentist

Selecting the right cosmetic dentist is crucial to achieving the results you desire.

Selecting the right cosmetic dentist is crucial to achieving the results you desire. Keep in mind that cosmetic dentistry is not an officially recognized specialty within dentistry, so any dentist can legally refer to themselves as a cosmetic dentist. But while every dentist is taught how to do various procedures within the realm of cosmetic dentistry, the ability to achieve a high level of expertise requires extensive study and training, which can take many years.

Ask For Referrals

If any friends or members of your family have had good cosmetic dental treatment, ask them for a referral. You can then check out the doctor's website, talk to the office, or even go in for a preliminary consultation. Ask other dental professionals you know whom they would recommend.

View Their Work

Porcelain veneer before and after.

Most dentists who perform cosmetic dental procedures are proud of their work and eager to document it with before-and-after photos. You can usually view these pictures online or see them in an album at the dentist's office. One caveat: commercially produced before-and-after examples do exist, so make sure that the photos you are being shown represent actual patients of the dentist you are considering.

Check Credentials

Even if a particular dentist comes highly recommended and shows you beautiful photographs, you will want to make sure he or she is qualified. Check online to see where your prospective cosmetic dentists went to school, what continuing education courses were completed, and what professional organizations they belong to. Keep in mind that the most highly qualified cosmetic dentists are members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Why Select an AACD Member Dentist?

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry - AACD.

Members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry are offered education and training on the latest procedures, techniques, and products through AACD publications, lectures, and workshops. AACD member professionals stay one step ahead of their peers by keeping informed on trends and learning how the latest products and technology benefit the patient. They also support not only responsible aesthetics but also systemic oral health. By selecting an AACD member dentist, you know your dental professional cares enough to stay in the forefront of the cosmetic dentistry field, so you receive the most up-to-date and best care available. AACD Accredited members have an even higher level of expertise. Find an AACD Cosmetic Dentist.

The AACD Accreditation Process

To achieve AACD Accreditation, a dental professional must complete a written examination, document five specific types of clinical cases, participate in continuing education classes, and pass a final oral examination. Once a dentist or a laboratory technician has achieved AACD Accreditation, he or she is expected to stay on top of industry trends and technology, bringing patients the best care available.

Make a List

It's important to determine what you want to change about your smile before you have your first consultation with a cosmetic dentist. Take a good look and compile a list. That way, when you do choose your cosmetic dentist, you will be ready to present your wish list and compare it to the dentist's own proposals.

Communicate What You Want

A person's own perception of what looks good is an important factor in achieving a satisfying result when it comes to smile enhancement. The art of “making smiles” lies in a dentist's ability to integrate the individual's personal perceptions of what is important with the dentist's own scientific and anatomical knowledge as it applies to smile design. With a professionally trained and experienced eye, your dentist will actually see more dental possibilities than you do. It is therefore his or her responsibility to educate you so that you're better able to make your own personal choices. At the same time, you must have confidence and trust that your dentist hears what you're saying about what you want to look like.

Dear Doctor's Expert Advice

In summary, then, selecting a cosmetic dentist to create your new smile requires you to evaluate a dentist's ability, years of experience, previous work, personality, philosophy of care, and training in the area of cosmetic dentistry. He/She should be able to provide you with many before-and-after examples so you can to see the work he/she has performed for others. If you can't access credentials of a particular dentist online, he/she should be proud to submit this information for your evaluation. And remember that the reason cosmetic dentistry requires a significant financial investment is that a highly trained professional is creating a work of art that you will showcase every time you smile for years to come. Research and a sense of trust are important in making the selection of which cosmetic dentist should do this work for you.

Find a Cosmetic Dentist today or learn more about Cosmetic Dentistry.

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