Also called a prosthodontist, a cosmetic dentist is one who specializes in procedures that enhance the appearance of the teeth and gums. Although oral health has an impact on the overall wellbeing of a person and therefore may be considered as medically necessary, cosmetic dentistry is more on aesthetics and is performed only upon request by the patient. Cosmetic dentistry promotes beautiful smile, and helps improve self esteem. Examples of cosmetic procedures are teeth whitening, veneers, implants, and gum lift.
Apart from the standard 4-year dentistry course, one will have to complete an additional two to three years of specialized training before he or she becomes qualified to practice cosmetic dentistry. This will also get the dentist certified in fixed, removable, and maxillofacial prosthodontics. The dentists also have the option to finish a post graduate degree in dentistry and dental materials science.
Qualities to Look for in a Cosmetic Dentist
Not all cosmetic dentists are the same. Just because one has a license to practice does not mean he or she can give what you need. In order to find the cosmetic dentist that is right for you, below are a few things to consider:
- Experience – During the initial consultation, you will have the chance to ask the cosmetic dentist about his or her experience. An experienced prosthodontist is more likely to have encountered a dental case similar to yours. Although a new dentist can also do the job right, you are in better hands with a dentist who have been doing the procedure you need for many years now. Ask about his or her rate of success, and what he or she usually suggests in the event of dissatisfaction by the patient.
- Reputation – It is crucial that the cosmetic dentist you will choose to do the procedure is of good reputation. You can get idea about how good the doctor is at what he or she does by asking his or her previous patients. You can either directly get references from the dentist, or ask around the neighborhood for information. You can also check his or her website to know about the services he or she provides, and read testimonials. It is also a good idea to join online forums to find out more about the dentist. Moreover, the dentist should be a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).
- Fees – Cosmetic dental procedures can be very expensive. Because these are usually not covered by insurance, you may need to talk to your provider before closing the deal with the dentist. Experienced cosmetic dentists charge higher than most standard dentists, but you need not settle with the most expensive offer. Nevertheless, many cosmetic dentists offer payment options to patients who cannot pay in full upfront.