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Tips for choosing a Cosmetic Dentist

Park Ridge cosmetic dentists

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Cosmetic dentistry is NOT recognized as a specialty by the American Dental Association; therefore, any general dentist can deem themselves a cosmetic dentist. This makes it difficult for patients to find a dentist with the right skills and credentials to complete an cosmetic case. Here are some tips on how to appropriately search for a “cosmetic dentist”:

 

1. Training

In dentistry, as in any other trade profession, knowledge and skill is passed on from masters of the trade. A dentist formally trained to perform cosmetic procedures is a prosthodontist (a specialist in reconstructive dentistry) or a general dentist with an advanced degree in general dentistry (required to complete 1-2 years of ADA esthetically oriented accredited programs). There may also be other dentists without formal training in cosmetic procedures who express interest and talent in the field. Patients should not hesitate to ask their dentists questions about their training and experience in cosmetic dentistry.

2. Associations

The most well-known association for cosmetic dentistry is the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. However, cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty by the American Dental Association and membership with AACD alone does NOT automatically guarantee the dentist is good. This only shows that a dentist is serious about the field because he is willing to invest in the membership. AACD’s mission is to provide educational opportunities, promotion and support of a respected credential and serve as a user friendly and inviting form for exchange of ideas.

3.  Before-and-After Photos of Real Cases

An experienced implant dentist will have an album or online gallery of before-and-after cases for your review. Ask the dentist to show you a case similar to yours.

 4. Reviews
The best reviews are always by word of mouth. There are online sources for reviews where some information can be found.  Although the online reviews are not always credible, they may give you an idea of what to expect.

 5.  Technology and Anesthesia
Dentists interested in modern procedures often have advanced technology such as digital X-rays, intraoral cameras, chair side monitors, and dental lasers. Ask your potential dentist about the technology in his or her office. You may also want to find out what kind of anesthesia or sedation is offered.

 6. Comfort

How do you feel in the dentist’s office? Is the staff friendly? Do you feel like you can ask questions, and do you like the answers you receive?

 7. Time Requirements

How long will it take the dentist to finish your smile makeover? Does he or she have any vacations planned during your treatment? It is important to find out the how long the whole treatment process will take in order to schedule any future plans.

 8. Written Tx Plan
It’s ideal to arrange your implant procedure on a piece of paper. Before committing to a treatment plan, always ask for a written treatment plan with approximate time of completion and specifics about what is going to happen.

 9. Second Opinion

It’s always best to get one or two second opinions.

10.  Miracle Treatment
Be cautious when considering any treatment if it seems too good to be true. There’s no harm in asking for time to consider all your other options before undergoing any form of dental treatment.

11.  Payment Options
Since insurance does not cover cosmetic smile enhancements, you will probably want to work with a dentist who accepts credit cards or offers payment plans. Many cosmetic dentists work with CareCredit, Chase Health Advantage, or Wells Fargo for third party patient financing as well.

12.  Scheduling
What are the dentist’s office hours? Do they suit your schedule? Will the dentist treat your entire family?

13.  Location
Cosmetic dental enhancements can require multiple visits. Is the dentist’s office convenient for you to visit from your home or work?

Don’t let just anyone try their hand at improving your smile. While cosmetic dentistry done correctly is safe, effective, and long lasting, it can go wrong if at the hands of an unqualified and inexperienced dentist. Be bold about interviewing your dentist. Some dentists offer a free cosmetic consultation so that you may become acquainted and discuss your treatment outcome expectations. Once you find a dentist that meets most of your criteria, proceed with an exam and listen to his or her treatment plan. Discuss financing and scheduling. Make sure you feel comfortable and confident in the dentist’s abilities and qualifications based on his past successful cases. A beautiful, strong, comfortable smile that’s built to last can improve your quality of life and boost your self-esteem dramatically, provided you are under the care of a fully trained and experienced cosmetic dentist.