Cosmetic dentistry is a specialty field in the dentistry profession. Unlike most forms of dental treatment, cosmetic treatments are not essential to oral health. Rather, these treatments improve and enhance the appearance of teeth. Some cosmetic dental treatments, like dental implants, may improve the functionality of teeth. However, this specialty is not formally recognized by the American Dental Association, the leading professional group for dentists in the nation. Therefore, any licensed dentist can practice cosmetic dentistry. This sometimes poses problems for patients looking for a cosmetic dentist. How can you tell a good one from a bad one? Here are several useful tips for choosing a qualified cosmetic dentist for any procedure:
Check Credentials and Training
Cosmetic dentists are required to have a D.D.S., the medical degree that designates them as dentists. However, there are no other credentials specific to cosmetic dentistry, which can make it trickier to find a good doctor. Therefore, discerning patients should look for a dentist’s training information which can typically be found on clinic websites. For example, Arizona’s Vibrant Dentistry clinic lists credentials for all its employees on the clinic’s website. If such information is not to be found, then that might be a sign that the clinic is not as recognized as the marketing material claims it to be.
Look for AACD Membership
The best cosmetic dentists are usually members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the foremost professional association for dentists who specialize in cosmetic treatments. The Academy doesn’t rate dentists, but being a member requires undergoing a tough testing process and being trained in the latest cosmetic dental technology. Dentists who are AACD members are typically more knowledgeable when it comes to cosmetic dental procedures than general dentists. Patients who seek cosmetic treatment will benefit more through an AACD accredited dentist.
Location of the Clinic Matters
Some cosmetic dental treatments, like in-office teeth whitening, can be completed quickly in a single session. But most other treatments require multiple visits to the dentist and several checkups afterward. Therefore, patients should choose a dental clinic located close to home or work to avoid unnecessary travel expenses. Even if a particular clinic has a great reputation, if it’s located far out of the way, it could make receiving timely treatments difficult.
Dental insurance typically doesn’t pay for cosmetic treatment. Exceptions may be made for restorative procedures that fix damaged or missing teeth. In any case, the dental clinic must offer options to discuss payment plans. A good clinic would have a financial consultant to discuss insurance and other details. Cosmetic dental procedures can be very expensive. So don’t choose a dentist that is unwilling to consider financial issues.
Good Communication is Essential
A good doctor should also be a good communicator. If you can’t comfortably communicate with your dentist, then you may not receive the best possible care you deserve. Make an initial visit to a clinic to see how well the dentist communicates with the patient. It’s easier and more practical to work with an open and honest doctor.
Pay careful attention to the above when choosing a dentist for a cosmetic procedure. Always visit a dentist who is highly qualified, trained, affordable and conveniently located, for whatever procedure you require.