HOW TO FIND AND SELECT A COSMETIC DENTIST
Cosmetic Dentist Location
The number of dentists in the United States and many other parts of the world that are offering cosmetic dental procedures is increasing all the time. Cosmetic Dentistry includes a large variety of procedures and techniques that are used individually and in various combinations for the purpose of enhancing, altering or completely changing your smile. The later is often called an extreme makeover smile.
Finding a qualified cosmetic dentist requires careful consideration and caution, because Cosmetic Dentistry is not a recognized specialty of American Dental Association. Therefore, there is no neutral referral system in place or third party insurance administrator involvement to assist with the selection of a cosmetic dentist. In general, most cosmetic dental procedures are not covered by any dental insurance plans. However, if a restorative procedure is needed on a single tooth, which is part of a cosmetic process, dental insurance may pay a portion of the restorative work done on that single tooth. A wide variety of cosmetic dental procedures are available depending upon the condition of your teeth and gums. Keep in mind that consultations with multiple cosmetic dentists will most likely yield several variations and differences of opinions on how you can obtain a beautiful new smile.
Cosmetic Dentist Referrals
Your general dentist may give you a referral to a qualified cosmetic dentist, assuming he or she does not do extensive cosmetic work. There are organizations and referral agencies that can suggest a “cosmetic dentist” for you. There are several well-known cosmetic dental training groups and organizations that keep lists of qualified dentists. However, keep in mind that these groups and organizations usually only recommend dentists that have taken ALL of their specific courses or that have paid them an advertising fee. For example, if a dentist takes advanced training in cosmetic dentistry with several different groups, they may not be listed with any of the groups, even though they are highly qualified to do excellent cosmetic dentistry. It is important for you to investigate the level of cosmetic dentistry experience that each cosmetic dentist has attained either before or during a consultation appointment. Bellevue Cosmetic Dentists, Dr Cynthia Pauley and Dr Patricia Pauley, both have had extensive advanced training in various cosmetic dentistry techniques at several different facilities, including the Las Vegas Institute (LVI). Look at the websites of cosmetic dentists in your area. Their websites will usually list their credentials, honors and awards, as well as exhibited examples of their cosmetic dental work, including before and after photographs of their cosmetic dentistry. Additionally, their websites should also list the various types of procedures that they do and those in which they specialize. Ask your friends, neighbors, and business associates that have undergone any type of smile enhancement, smile change or smile makeover what dentist that they would recommend. A personal referral from a happy friend or associate is probably the best referral source that you can have. During your phone inquiries, ask whether or not if the dentist does amalgam (silver) fillings, because cosmetic dentists do not do these—they only do composite (tooth colored) fillings.
Cosmetic Dentist Consultation
Ask the dentist what types of advanced courses they have taken in cosmetic dentistry. You will want to see photographic examples of both before and after work that they have performed using various procedures and techniques. Other criteria for determining if a cosmetic dentist is the right one for you would include how long the dentist has been doing dentistry and in particular how long they have been doing cosmetic dentistry. Keep in mind that your individual results may vary depending upon the skill level of the dentist. You must decide if you like the results shown in before and after photos of previous patients. Ask the dentist if the photos are of actual patients that the dentist has treated and ask what particular procedure or procedures were done on the patients that you are viewing. Find out what dental technologies are used in the practice and what patient comforts are provided. Headphones with music and movie glasses are especially nice for long procedures lasting two hours or more. Through all of this, a very important thing is your perception and feelings toward the dentist and the work presented, so that you will have confidence in the treatment process and that it will be an anxiety-free experience. If possible, try to assess how staff members interact and what type of overall ambience is present in the office. These two things will have a bearing on how well you will be treated and cared for during and after completion of your cosmetic dental procedures and smile changes. At Brookside Dental, Bellevue, WA, we hire people for their ability to work together with each other as well as their technical skills. This is something that is very noticeable to patients when they visit our office—many of them comment on how friendly and helpful the staff members are.
At your initial consultation, you should discuss what you like and don’t like about your smile. This is the time for you and the cosmetic dentist to establish realistic expectations for your cosmetic dental treatment. Some patients may have unrealistic expectations and this needs to be addressed. Cosmetic dentistry consultations should involve a comprehensive dental examination that may include intra-oral photos and x-ray evaluation. These are important to create a unique and precise cosmetic dental treatment plan that will satisfy the patient’s needs and meet realistic expectations. Since a significant amount of time may be spent for this purpose, the dentist may charge you a small consultation fee, which should be applied to any work that you have done.
You may also meet with the practice’s office manager to discuss the types of financing or payment options available to help you manage the cost of your cosmetic dentistry treatment — as mentioned previously, dental insurance does not typically provide coverage for cosmetic treatment. If not, ask what financing options are available through either a dental loan provider or as an in-house payment option that your cosmetic dentist may provide. Find out if the treatment can be done in phases and if it can be then, which phase the is most important. Always ask if the work is guaranteed. Any good cosmetic dentist should be willing to guarantee their work for a reasonable period of time against “normal wear and tear” without a lot of caveats. Many cosmetic dentists will not offer a guarantee unless the patient agrees to have ALL the work done that the doctor indicates should be done. Be very careful in evaluating this, because often all recommended work is not always necessary to obtain a beautiful smile. Because some people have budget constraints, there is a trade off between getting a nice smile and a stunningly beautiful smile. The patient must make this final evaluation, but be realistic in what you expect for the dollars you can spend–this is why multiple consultations are valuable. In our office at Brookside Dental, Bellevue, WA, if we do any work, that work done is guaranteed even if the patient did not get all the work done that we felt would give the maximum result.
Cosmetic Dental Treatment Plan
The patient should be given a treatment plan at the time of the consultation, including a detailed cost breakdown. Your treatment options should be understood and you should feel comfortable with the detail and inclusiveness of the treatment plan given to you. Be sure to ask about expected longevity of the final results and what maintenance may be required in order to maintain the benefit of your smile changes. For example, to protect veneers, you may need to wear a protective mouth guard at night to help prevent them from chipping or cracking. Bleaching of your teeth, commonly called tooth whitening, may have to be repeated on a regular basis — depending upon the procedure used to get your teeth white. A night guard is something that we often recommend to protect veneers.
When crowns, bridges, porcelain veneers, or dental implants are used in your smile makeover, a dental laboratory will be involved in your smile restoration. Find out how long the dentist has worked with the lab he or she uses. Also find out if the same porcelain technician always does his or her cases—this gives continuity and reliability to the work. It is preferable that the dentist has a long-term working relationship with this laboratory and they have done similar cases to the one you will be having done. An on-site porcelain artist is ideal to deal with any color or shade questions immediately. However, most dentists do not have on-site porcelain artists and must ship their work out to a laboratory, often in another state. In our office at Brookside Dental, Bellevue, WA, we have an onsite porcelain artist that we have worked with for over 15 years who is a master craftsman at fashioning all porcelain veneers and crowns. Any minor adjusts can be made onsite for the convenience of the patient.
Cosmetic Dentist Final Selection
When you select a cosmetic dentist, you are selecting a dental professional who will help you change your appearance by changing the look of your teeth and your smile. It is a very personal and important choice. Most cosmetic dental procedures are not reversible, so you will want to take your time, ensure that you feel comfortable with the dentist, and that you feel confident with his/her skills and capabilities. When you do, you will likely be happy and completely satisfied with the results that are achieved with the cosmetic dentistry treatment you receive.
If there are any complications during a cosmetic dentistry procedure, an experienced cosmetic dentist will be more adept at handling the situation. In addition, a cosmetic dentist who has performed many complicated dental procedures will have had more time to perfect his or her technique and results. Cosmetic dentistry treatments like dental veneers and bonding require an artistic touch to produce the most attractive and natural-looking results. Choosing the best possible cosmetic dentist near you requires evaluation of many things. When you plan cosmetic dental work to enhance, alter, or change your smile, it is important that you choose a qualified and experienced cosmetic dentist. Cosmetic dentists who have performed numerous complicated dental procedures will have had more time to perfect their techniques. Cosmetic treatments like porcelain veneers, tooth-colored fillings, and crowns on dental implants require an artistic touch as well as superior technical ability to produce the most attractive and natural-looking results.
The following guidelines may help you find a qualified cosmetic dentist in your area:
·Verify the dentist’s dental education through your state’s certification board or the American Dental Association.
·Look for a dentist who has received specialized training in the field of cosmetic dentistry.
·Find a dentist who has made cosmetic dentistry a major part of his or her practice.
·Learn about his or her qualifications and experience by requesting this information at the time you talk to the office manager.
·Visit the practice’s website for the dentist’s qualifications, before and after case information and office ambience.
·Look at before and after pictures of previous patients with various procedures.
·Find out how long and under what parameters the restorative work is guaranteed.
·Make sure the dentist is licensed to practice in your state and that they have not had any disciplinary actions brought against them.
·Check their standing and membership with the Better Business Bureau.
Bellevue Cosmetic Dentists, Dr Cynthia Pauley and Dr Patricia Pauley, were featured in “Doctor of Dentistry” 2008. You can www.brooksidedental.com for additional information on Cosmetic Dentistry.