The American Dental Association (ADA) does not list cosmetic dentistry as an official specialty, so any dentist can claim to be a “cosmetic dentist”. If you are concerned with the appearance of your teeth or thinking about enhancing your smile, how do you know what to look for in a dentist and whom to trust? Here are a few key factors we recommend patients consider when evaluating a cosmetic dentist:
Depending on the practice, some general dentists may have little or no experience with your particular needs. For example, there’s a big difference between tooth whitening and cosmetic techniques that require expertise with laser dentistry. According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, roughly 75% of cosmetic procedures involve either bonding or crowns & bridges. Make sure the dentist you select excels at the specific cosmetic services you need.
Materials & Partners
There is a long list of materials used in some cosmetic dentistry procedures, including many types of porcelain/ceramics and metals – or even a combination of both. You will want to ensure that your cosmetic dentist works with reputable partners who will help ensure the quality of the materials used. For example, over the past 25 years, the in-house team at Angstadt Family Dental has partnered with Gibson Dental Designs – the top ceramicist in the US – to ensure better color, customization, and strength for our patients’ crowns & bridges. Our treatments use quality components and are backed by a 100% warranty.
Dentists who use the most advanced cosmetic techniques not only have specialized training, they also employ cutting-edge technology to improve quality and patient comfort. Some technologies to look for include digital X-rays, accessible monitors, intraoral cameras, and dental lasers. Leading practices will use scanning instead of impressions for crowns and will offer clear aligner orthodontic therapy. Don’t be shy: ask your potential cosmetic dentist about the technology he or she uses! You may also want to inquire about your options for anesthesia.
A practice should make you feel comfortable and you should trust that every time you come in the door you are receiving the best care possible. Look for offices that have been embedded in their communities for many years. They are the most likely to provide a warm patient experience where the doctors are always available and you receive the highest level of care. Practices that use the latest technology will, often, also be able to provide a more comfortable experience. For example, we can do what’s called “tissue contouring” using our state of the art dental laser, the Waterlase iPlus. In using the laser, it helps us to be as specific and conservative as possible while also sterilizing the tissue for better healing.
This is one that is too often overlooked. According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the average cosmetic treatment now costs roughly $6,000. Since insurance does not cover most cosmetic smile enhancements, you should look for a dentist who accepts credit cards and also offers a number of convenient payment options. Many accept Care Credit, Wells Fargo Health Advantage, or feature a variety of individual and corporate loyalty plans to help defray the cost of dental treatment. Be comfortable speaking with the dentist about your insurance and financing options.
Previews & Testimonials
An experienced cosmetic 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. Does the dentist offer digital imaging so that you can see the predicted results before you commit to treatment? This can help allay any concerns you have about the outcome of your procedure. Finally, be sure to check the practice website and social media for testimonials specific to cosmetic procedures.
Cosmetic dentistry can enhance self-confidence and function, and improvements can be made for anyone. Ensure that you are working with a dentist with expertise in the procedure you need completed, who uses leading materials and technologies, and who will provide the comfort you need and deserve! If you need additional information, don’t hesitate to contact us today to set-up a consultation.