Nowadays, cosmetic dentistry is more popular than ever.
From shaping and closing spaces to porcelain veneers and whitening, it seems everyone wants to improve their smile. Some popular TV shows illustrate the huge transformations that can take place when a person goes through a “makeover” and a large part of the before and after difference is due to the changes in the person’s’ teeth and smile.
And while one only needs to flip open the phone book or go online to find a plethora of cosmetic dentists at their fingertips, scouting out ‘the one’ can be overwhelming and intimidating process for many.
I have had some patients come to me after having spent a considerable amount of money to fix their teeth and smile only to end up with less than ideal or satisfactory results. That can be very frustrating as well as an expensive “waste” of money. So how do you find someone you can trust and be confident that they will be able to meet your expectations and provide quality dental care that will last?
Here are 6 things you should keep in mind when selecting a cosmetic dentist who will turn your smile from drab to fab. Ready, set, smile.
1. Find Someone Who Understands What Makes a Smile Beautiful
The first step in finding someone who will turn that frown upside down is to track down an expert who understands just how important a smile can be and what is needed to improve your smile. In my opinion the most beautiful smiles are the ones that look so natural the person is complimented on how lucky they are to be born with such beautiful teeth.
Of course having the teeth (relatively) straight and fairly white are some basic elements but there is a lot more to it than that. The size and length of the teeth are also important and the ideal size will vary from person to person. The teeth should have symmetry with themselves and the rest of the face. The upper teeth typically follow the lower lip line and fill the sides of the mouth as you look towards the back teeth. Gum symmetry is also very important especially for people who have a high smile line and show their gum tissue when they smile. Our bodies , including our teeth are not mirror image symmetrical, however having the teeth and gums relatively balanced from one side to another is important.
If you take a look at some photos of smiles that you like and feel are beautiful, I think you will see a lot of the elements that I have described above. It is by no means a complete list but the dentist you are consulting with should be aware of these and take these things into consideration.
In my opinion they should also first consider the most conservative approach or treatment, especially if it will deliver your desired end results. Some of the various treatments that can improve your smile are: whitening procedures (e.g. Zoom in office whitening), contouring, bonding, porcelain veneers and no preparation veneers (e.g. Lumineers) as well as orthodontics. Since no smile is alike, it’s important your prospective cosmetic dentist offers a plethora of solutions to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.
2. Do a Little Digging
Word of mouth – quite literally – is another important factor to take into consideration when choosing the right cosmetic dentist for you.
Most dentists would be very willing and happy to show you their before and after photos. Also ask if they have any photos of the cases years later. If their before and after photos from past patients aren’t available online, ask to see a portfolio when you are in the office. In some cases, they may even allow you the opportunity to speak directly with past patients or to read their testimonials. If there’s nothing to see, you might want to think twice about utilizing their services.
3. Cosmetic Dental Credentials are Key
Keep in mind that even if their website boasts beautiful before and after photos or your neighbour gave him or her a raving review, always remember to check the prospective cosmetic dentist’s qualifications.
Most highly qualified cosmetic dentists belong to a professional cosmetic association such as the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry or the Canadian Dental Association. They most likely will have additional cosmetic training beyond basic dental school. To find out, a quick Google search might provide you with the answers you’re looking for. Alternatively, you could simply ask the dental receptionist or dentist.
And with dentistry continually evolving and advancing, you’ll also want to look for a cosmetic dentist who keeps abreast of leading technology by taking continuing education courses in their field.
4. An Understanding of Chewing Function (Occlusion)
A stable occlusion (chewing function) is required for long-lasting health, function and durability of your teeth and dental work. Some esthetic changes to your mouth via cosmetic dentistry can affect your overall occlusion (chewing function). If this is not taken into account you may find that you end up breaking or damaging your new dental work or even some of your other teeth.
5. The Comfort Factor
Finding the right cosmetic dentist for you is important. You should search for someone you trust, who listens to your concerns and develops a treatment plan that you’re comfortable with. Ask yourself, do you feel comfortable telling this person your concerns, long-term goals and wishes? Does this person not only listen to you but is able to address your concerns? If not then maybe it is time to reconsider before you venture forward.
6. Trust Your Gut
Once you’ve checked their credentials, reputation and experience, there is just one last determining factor – your gut.
As previously noted (see 5), the right dentist can help reassure you and calm any fears you might have about dental procedures. Simply take the time to do your research and make a wise decision when you are ready.
With these 6 tips in mind, you can start your search for a reputable cosmetic dentist in your area. Remember, take the time to make a more educated decision– even if it means meeting more than one expert in the field. I always tell my patients that making a decision to proceed with cosmetic dental work is a big decision for most of us. And typically with big decisions we look at options… we often get more than one quote….in the case of dentistry it may mean going for more than one consultation. I encourage my patients to seek a second opinion especially if they have any hesitation about the treatment plan. costs etc. Your happiness, confidence and the health of your teeth and gums depend on it!
13 thoughts on “How To Select A Cosmetic Dentist”
My daughter has been wanting to improve her smile as she feels it’s imperfect so we’re wanting to make sure that it’s something that she can love. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to find a cosmetic dentist who understands what makes a perfect smile. We’ll have to start looking around for a cosmetic dentist in the area that will be able to get her smile to a place that she can feel confident.
Thank you for your feedback.
It is good to know that these blogs make sense and are helpful to others. Best wishes to finding just the right dentist for your daughter!
Dr. P. Balogh
I agree that checking with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry when choosing a cosmetic dentist. Finding out what they have to say about a dentist would probably help you choose someone who is qualified. My brother is looking for a cosmetic dentist to whiten his teeth before his wedding, so he’ll have to consider their credentials.
When my fiance and I moved into a new home, we decided to find a new dentist in the area so that we can get checkups. We are not sure how we should look or what we should do to choose one. It was helpful to read that trusting your gut is the best way to figure this out.
I like what you said about asking to see a portfolio of before and after photos. That way, you can see firsthand if a dentist’s work is up to par, and if you like it. I need to find a cosmetic dentist to help me fix my smile, so I can be more confident. I will definitely keep these tips in mind as I make this big decision, thanks a lot for sharing!
I really appreciate your tip to look for a cosmetic dentist that cares about your smile and wants you to feel confident. I also like how you said that they should have credentials and be associated with another professional institution of association. My husband and I are looking into a cosmetic dentistry because we want our teeth whitened.
It’s great to know how to find cosmetic dentistry. I like how you said that we need to find someone we trust because we need to feel comfortable. Both my wife and I want to whiten our teeth, so thanks for these tips.
It really helped when you said that we could check the before and after photos of their work. I think that would really give us an idea if they have done well with their previous clients. I will definitely do that so that we will be choosing the right dentist for my son. He just need to have his teeth fixed because it got a crack after having an accident while skateboarding last weekend.
Of the things you listed here, I do think that the first thing you have listed is the most important. That way, you would be able to find someone who knows what to do to make your smile look amazing. As you said, a smile is more than just your teeth, it’s a culmination of everything in your mouth that makes a good smile.
I’m needing to get some cosmetic work done on my smile and want to find the best dentist for the job. Thank you for pointing out that word of mouth is the best way to find a dentist. I’ll have to keep this in mind as I search for the right one for me.
I like that you pointed out that we can quickly search for the credentials of the dentist online to ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest techniques regarding this industry. I will follow your advice since I want to make sure that my teeth will be restored properly because the affected ones are in the front part. Some of them got chipped because of the accident I was in when I rode a motorcycle last month.
I really like how you said that you should choose a dentist who has a stable understanding of chewing function so that you do not damage your new dental work. My wife and I just moved to a new city, and she has been complaining about pain around her back teeth. It might be time for us to take her to a dentist who can help us figure out what is causing her pain.
My sister and her family recently moved to another city, and she needs to find a cosmetic dentist. It was great you suggested looking at previous jobs to determine the qulity. I’ll recommend her doing this so she can find a reliable dentist.