Picking a cosmetic dentist isn’t always as easy as finding a normal dentist. With additional education and certification requirements, taking advantage of resources provided online and through dental authorities can help narrow your search. We’ve put together a list of seven things you can use to evaluate how to pick your cosmetic dentist.
Check with the dental licensing authority in your state to verify a cosmetic dentist’s license to practice. The names might differ slightly by state. For example in Texas it is the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, while in Connecticut it’s the Department of Public Health. They tell you everything from how long your dentist has practiced and been licensed to where and when they went to dental school. You can also find if disciplinary action has ever been taken against the dentist for reasons such as misconduct or malpractice.
Check with Accreditation Organizations (AACD)
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry provides an online database that displays members. You can find a cosmetic dentist in your area who meets the different accreditation standards of the academy. The AACD hold a high standard of membership requiring commitment to a continued dental education as well as passing examinations to qualify.
You can check with your family doctor or regular health care provider to refer you to a cosmetic dental practice. Much of the time your physician will give you several options to pick from. Your regular dentist can also refer you to several different specialties of cosmetic dentistry depending on your needs.
Talk to Past Patients
Speak with patients who have had a procedure done that is the same or similar to what you desire. Take advantage of before and after pictures illustrating the difference the procedure makes. If your dental care provider does not have pictures, inquire as to why. Make sure the photos are of patients the dentist has treated himself.
Many cosmetic dentists offer free consultations. Take advantage of these offers to ask questions concerning the procedure you want or how much it could cost. Be sure to ask your dentist about their experience in regards to performing your procedure. Also found out how follow-up care and financing options work, as well as other how many treatments will be required after your procedure. The consultation provides the best opportunity for you to check if you will feel comfortable at the practice
Many cosmetic procedures involve restorations. These are made in a dental laboratory by a dental lab technician. Ask about the technician that your dentist will be using in your treatment plan. For example, are they a certified dental technician or a member of the AACD? Also inquire as to how long they have worked together, and if they’ve tackled cases similar to yours. When you pick a cosmetic dentist, you’re also picking their team.
You get what you pay for. The lowest price is not necessarily the best bargain in the case of cosmetic dentistry. If your procedure is significantly cheaper with one dentist than others, that may be a reason to reconsider going to that practice. The office may be operated by a dentist in the process of training to be a cosmetic dentist.
Dr. Allen Jahangiri is the head of Noble Smile Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Katy, Texas. Noble Smile offers a wide range of services ranging from dental implantation to teeth cleaning and cavity prevention.