Finding a new dentist can be a headache, even more so when it’s a specialized area of dentistry. We’ve gathered our resources to show you how to choose a cosmetic dentist, what to consider when picking a dentist, and how to decide between the cosmetic dentists you’ve found. Taking the time to select the right cosmetic dentist for you can ensure you have the best experience and results possible.
Here are the top four factors to consider when trying to choose a cosmetic dentist:
- Their office is in a convenient location.
- Former client testimonials are readily available from patients with similar cosmetic dentistry needs as you.
- The dentist uses cosmetic dentistry procedures you’re comfortable with (ex. Whitening by chemical cleanings vs. use of veneers).
- The cost of services is within your budget.
How to Find a Cosmetic Dentist
To decide if you like a cosmetic dentist you first need to find one in your area. There are a few ways you can go about this.
The first is to start with a local search of your area. Your answer is a Google search away and you don’t have to wade through a slew of dentists located outside your area. Because you aren’t finding these dentists through your insurance provider or an accredited organization, you’ll want to take extra time to learn about the dental office before scheduling an appointment.
Through a Professional Membership Organization Directory
Another option is to go to a professional membership organization, like the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. These organizations often have a directory on their site for all dentists accredited through the organization.
Through Your Insurance Provider
Most insurance providers offer an online catalog of dentists that are in-network. This can help you get started and pinpoint dentists who take your insurance, but there’s a catch. Keep in mind that many insurance providers will not cover elective procedures, only restorative procedures. While nothing is stopping you from establishing in-network, it’s good to keep in mind as you prepare to have a cosmetic dentistry procedure.
Once you’ve found a few top contenders, use these 11 steps to vet the cosmetic dentists you’ve found before committing to treatment at one office.
How to Choose the Cosmetic Dentist Who’s Right for You
1. Get Referrals
There’s no better way than referrals to determine if a dentist’s office is right for you. Talking to friends and family will give you a patient’s perspective of the experience—which will be your experience. While referrals shouldn’t be a deciding factor, they can set you on the right path to finding the right cosmetic dentist for your needs.
2. Talk to Your Regular Dentist
Chances are your regular dentist knows of cosmetic dentists in the area or may actually have a specialized area of their own practice that can take care of your cosmetic dentistry needs. Keep in mind, you should still do research to determine if the recommended cosmetic dentist is the right fit for you.
3. Check Credentials and Certifications
Any dentist can say they are a cosmetic dentist but not every dentist has credentials for cosmetic dentistry specifically. You’ll want to pay special attention to dentists who have memberships to associations like the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry or other trusted credentials. While this doesn’t guarantee the dentist is good at cosmetic dentistry it does show they are serious about the cosmetic dentistry portion of their practice.
4. Ensure They Have Continuing Education
Most dental programs don’t provide cosmetic dentistry training and if they do it’s only from a general education perspective. You want to ensure the dentist you pick to complete your dental procedure has completed post-graduate training. These can come from any well-respected cosmetic dentistry specific education program.
5. See if Their Office Hours are a Good Fit for Your Schedule
There’s no sense in establishing with a cosmetic dentist with office hours you can’t meet. Pay attention to when the office is open and compare it to your schedule. I want to have a handful of times and a few days you could get an appointment. Dentists offices tend to have strange schedules with half days and changed hours throughout the week. If you’re only ever available to come in on Fridays don’t go with a cosmetic dentist who is closed on Fridays.
6. Find a Dentist Whose Payment Plans Match Your Needs
Check with the cosmetic dentist you’re most interested in for payment plan options. Don’t feel pressured into a payment plan that is unrealistic for your situation. This is especially important for elective procedures that aren’t covered by insurance. Your best option is to work with a dentist who will accept credit cards or provide a payment plan.
7. Get a Feel for the Office Atmosphere
You’ll be visiting the dentist office more than once for most cosmetic dentistry treatments so it’s important to find an office atmosphere you feel comfortable in. Check it out when you come in for your consultation. If you don’t like the atmosphere and there are better options available go with the cosmetic dentist office you’re more comfortable being treated in.
8. Inquire About Technology and Anesthesia Used for Treatments
You want to ensure the technology used during your procedures isn’t dated and you’re comfortable throughout the process. Ask the potential dentist about the types of technology used (X-rays, chair-side monitors, dental lasers, and other technology). If you find dental treatments to be stressful, you’ll also want to inquire about sedation options.
9. See How Much of Their Practice is Cosmetic Dentistry Focused
You want a dentist with a major focus in cosmetic dentistry. This means most of their career has been invested in improving their knowledge of cosmetic dentistry procedures. Ask your potential dentist how much of their practice is devoted to cosmetic dentistry. A dentist with a higher volume of cosmetic dentistry patients is likely a better option than one who has a very small percentage of cosmetic dentistry patients.
10. Review Their Portfolio of Before-and-After Photos
You want to know what your mouth is going to look like after all the procedures and money has been spent. A quick look at the before-and-after photos from previous patients can show you the types and severity of oral problems the dentist has treated. If your dentist doesn’t have any before and after photos you have reason to be wary of becoming their patient.
11. Check to Ensure the Location of Their Office is a Good Fit
There’s no sense in driving an hour each way to get to a cosmetic dentist when there are closer alternatives. Consider the distance to the dentist’s office you’re considering. With cosmetic dentistry procedures, you’ll often have to come in for multiple appointments which mean multiple trips. Preferably the dentist’s office will be a convenient location from both your home and work.
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
What qualifies as regular dentistry and what is better left to experienced cosmetic dentists? Cosmetic dentistry consists of the following both elective and restorative procedures:
- Enamel Shaping and Gum Reshaping
You don’t need to know going into a consultation what needs to be done to your teeth (that’s the dentist’s job) but it is good to have an overall understanding of what your end goal is. You’ll also want to let your dentist know if you’re on a deadline. Many couples will decide on cosmetic dentistry fixes before their wedding.
Straighter teeth, whiter smile, or other something else entirely? If you’re unhappy with your current smile and want a solution provided by a team of experts in the cosmetic dentistry area, contact us to schedule your first appointment.