Unlike other medical specialty professions, "cosmetic" is not a medically sanctioned dental specialty (according to the American Dental Association). This is due to the general dentist must be able to perform the same treatments that are used by cosmetic dentists. Well in fact what this means is that cosmetic dentists are regular dentists. Cosmetic Dentists focus their practices on cosmetic work instead of general dentistry and keep up with the latest trends and technology.
It is important to understand that cosmetic dentistry is any work that is done on healthy teeth to improve their appearance such as bleaching, bonding, crowns, veneers and reshaping and contouring. Cosmetic dentists can improve teeth that are chipped, misshapen, discolored or even large gaps caused by missing teeth. Dentists can actually reshape your existing teeth if need be, lengthen or shorten teeth or change the spacing between your teeth.
If you have a family – general dentist then discuss your situation with him / her first. Your dentist should be able to give you a recommendation for what to do and if required a cosmetic dentist referral. The amount of cosmetic work you want done, should dictate the time you spend finding the right dentist. If you're working is $ 5,000 or more, getting two opinions and estimates is a good idea. If the work is over $ 10,000, then you should definitely compare two dentists.
5 Tips when evaluating a prospective cosmetic dentist.
· Ask to be shown before and after photos of patients that the dentist has treated. Pay special attention to ones that have had cosmetic work similar to the type that you want.
· Check references or referrals of patients that have had work done by this dentist. It's best if these were posted to independent review sites, as it helps greatly to insure their validity.
· Find out how long the practice has been at this location, as quality workmanship often supports longevity. If the period seems brief (one to three years) ask if it was in another location and for how long.
· Find out if the dentist has any special training in the latest techniques in clinical cosmetic dentistry. If he does, he will be more than happy to share the details with you.
· Low prices may signal undesirable possibilities. The crowns or bridges used may be made in low quality labs that may even be outside the USA. Materials used in crown or bridge construction also varies in quality and cost. There are always means to cut corners. These typically yield a lesser quality and could mean problems down the line.
The three most important things to get from your consultation:
The dentist should of course advise you of options (and costs) available to achieve to look you seek. Once you are pretty well decided on a treatment, please make sure to ask these additional questions:
· What will I look like when the treatments are finished?
· About how long will it take to complete the treatments and what is the step-by-step description of the entire program?
· Once the treatments are finished, what will I have to do to maintain the same look as when I left the chair?
You can find out information about cosmetic dentistry benefits from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. http://www.aacd.com/index.php?module=cms&page=557