There are a number of ways to select a Cosmetic Dentist, some good, some bad. Follow these guidelines for a happy smile.
How to find and interview the Right Cosmetic Dentist
There are a number of ways to select a Cosmetic Dentist, some good, some bad. Below I describe some good methods and some that aren’t so good.
The best way:
The best way to select your cosmetic dentist is to put in some legwork. Don’t be in a hurry; this is a decision that could last a lifetime. Interview at least two or three cosmetic dentists, and ask to see before and after pictures of the work they have done. Be sure that you like the results of the doctor’s work. Do all of the patient’s teeth look the same? Do they look natural, or do they look like a mouth full of Chiclets? How does the shape of the teeth blend with the patient’s face? Ask the Dentist to show you examples of different shapes of teeth. You need to also be sure that you communicate well with the dentist, and he understands what it is you want. Where did the dentist get his cosmetic training? True cosmetic dentistry is not taught in dental school. The Dentist should have attended a postgraduate program such as The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. These types of programs have the dentists bring in actual patients to work on, they aren’t just a weekend lecture course on how to do veneers. Most importantly, make sure the dentist takes the time to explain everything to you and answers all of your questions. Once you have done all of this, you can make an informed, rational decision. Anyone who refers you to a cosmetic dentist has far less at stake in the outcome than you do, so it’s up to you to take responsibility for finding the best doctor.
- A recommendation from your family doctor. This can be a starting point, but remember, your primary doctor is probably pretty busy. He doesn’t usually have time to evaluate a bunch of different cosmetic dentists. He may know a couple of different dentists who practice cosmetic dentistry, but these may not necessarily be the best in town.
- A referral from a patient who has had work done by a cosmetic dentist. If you like the results, he/she may be worth checking into. Find out about education and postgraduate training.
- A recommendation from an aesthetician or hairstylist. These people are in the appearance and style of business. They know who has had what done and have probably seen both the good and bad in your town. This can actually be a pretty good starting point for your search.
- The yellow pages will have a list of dentists in your town; keep in mind that the size and quality of the ad are not an indication of the quality of the work. Be very careful about using this as your starting point.
Some things to remember when you go in for a consultation:
- Try to relax. You are just going for a consultation. You have no obligation to have any treatment. Tell the dentist what it is you are looking for. Listen to what he has to say.
- Remember, you are hiring the dentist, not the other way around. Be sure that the answers all of your questions.
- Go to your consultation with pictures of smiles that you like. Not every smile can be duplicated on every patient, but it will give the cosmetic dentist some idea of what direction you wish to go. Be sure to let him know what it is about the smile that you dislike. Listen to what he has to say about your smile
What you want to accomplish at the consultation:
- Get as much information as you can about the recommended procedure. What will be done; veneers? Crowns? Implants? bridges? What can be improved upon? What can the dentist not improve? What are the possible complications? What are the costs? Will you be able to go out right after the procedure? If you feel that the doctor is not answering your questions or comes across as if you are wasting his time, move on to the next one. It is the cosmetic dentist’s job to make sure you are educated about the procedure and that he answers all of your questions.
- How good is the cosmetic dentist? Look at before and after photos of patients with similar situations. This is one way of determining how good his work is. Be sure to ask if the pictures you are seeing are patients the dentist has done himself. Some “cosmetic dentists” use stock photos of patients who are not their own. If the dentist will not show you photos, it is probably a good idea to go elsewhere.
- If you like what you see, but are still a little bit uneasy, ask the dentist if you can contact some of his cosmetic patients that have had similar treatment. The best cosmetic dentist will be happy to arrange this for you.
Cosmetic dentists are just like any other professional, some are very good, and others are not so good. Pictures of the dentist’s work are the best evidence of the dentist’s skill. You wouldn’t hire someone to remodel your house without seeing samples of their work first. A great cosmetic dentist sees beyond the teeth, looking at the whole person. For more information on cosmetic dentistry, go to The Beverly Hills Cosmetic Dentist