What to Look for in a Cosmetic Dentist
No two cosmetic dentists are the same. Though these oral health professionals perform similar work, each cosmetic dentist has unique merits, flaws, training, experience, and education. The question is how to select the best cosmetic dentist for your particular needs. Follow the tips detailed below and you will find the perfect cosmetic dentist to enhance your smile.
Take a Look at the Dentist's Credentials
Too many people make the mistake of choosing a dentist based on a single word-of-mouth referral. Some are swayed by alleged photo proof of the dentist's prior work. Sadly, some dentists will exaggerate or even lie about their prior work to secure your business. Perform your due diligence by checking to determine if the cosmetic dentist1 in question has the proper qualifications. Take a look on the web to see where the cosmetic dentist went to college. Find out if the dentist has completed any continuing education courses since graduating. Perhaps the dentist belongs to several reputable organizations. Each of these accomplishments gives the dentist in question that much more merit.
Request Referrals From Current and Former Patients
It is not enough to ask a single friend or family member for a dentist referral and assume your smile will look exactly like theirs. Ask several people in your social circle for cosmetic dentists referrals. Review the results and you might find a common theme that reveals one or several specific cosmetic dentists are superior to the rest. Once you have whittled down the field to a couple of dentists, continue to research. Take a look at the dentist's website, visit the office and interact with staff members to get a feel for their service and personality.
Explain What You are Looking for Before Forking Over Your Money
It is a mistake to hire any old cosmetic dentist assuming he or she can make your vision for your smile a reality. Explain exactly what you desire your smile to look like. Listen closely as the dentist responds to your request. If you have even the slightest suspicion the dentist is incapable of improving your smile exactly as you desire, move on to the next candidate. Ideally, the dentist's trained eye will help reveal more cosmetic dental improvements than you initially thought possible. However, you should steer this process as you are the one who will have to live with the results.
Ask for Examples of Prior Cosmetic Dental Work
The best cosmetic dentists are more than willing to put their work on display. You have every right to request before-and-after pictures of the dentist's work before paying a single penny. Some cosmetic dentists even put these before-and-after snapshots on their website. Others create a photo album that is kept in the office for patient review. However, as noted above, it is possible to alter or even forge before-and-after photographs to create the impression patients are provided with perfect-looking smiles when the truth might be quite different. Verify the photographs you are presented with are from the dentist's actual patients before putting significant stock in their merit.
Review Patient Testimonials
Patient testimonials provide valuable insight into the cosmetic dentist's quality of work, success rate, customer service, and general merit. Conduct an online search or check out the cosmetic dentist's social media pages to glean as much information as possible from prior and current patients.
Check out the Office for Yourself
If you do not feel comfortable in the dentist's office, find another dentist! The only way to gauge your comfort level with the office, staff members and the dentist is to visit the dental practice in person. This does not mean you have to spend an hour in the office; a mere five-minute introduction and a brief meeting will suffice. If you feel as though the staff/dentist do not need or desire your business or if they seem unfriendly, move on to the next candidate. A cosmetic dentist who values your business is that much more likely to do his or her best to beautify your smile.
Gauge the Cosmetic Dentist's Listening Skills
The best cosmetic dentists are focused on patients rather than money. If you have any suspicion the cosmetic dentist is not patient-centered, move on to another dentist. The bottom line is patient needs should trump the dentist's agenda. The dentist's listening skills are particularly important. If the dentist is willing to listen to your goals for your smile and oral health, you will stand a much better chance of leaving the office with a smile you are actually proud of. It is also important for the cosmetic dentist to break down the nuances of aesthetic dentistry in plain English every layman can understand. If the dentist uses complicated terms or rushes through explanations, it is a sign he or she does not truly need or desire your business.
Consider Candidates' Specialties
Some cosmetic dentists specialize in a particular type of aesthetic dentistry while others attempt to do it all. Find out the specific dental services provided at the office. You might find the cosmetic dentist you are leaning toward specializes in the exact cosmetic dental improvement you desire. Alternatively, the cosmetic dentist might not have much experience with the particular procedure you have in mind. Be sure to select a cosmetic dentist that is properly trained and experienced in the particular procedures you desire before making a commitment.
Find out if Smile Previews are Available
Some cosmetic dentists have the technology necessary to provide prospective patients with a preview of what their smile looks like after treatment. This is accomplished with digital imaging or the use of wax-ups. Though the lack of a smile preview should not be a deal-breaker, it would be nice to check out the predicted smile results before moving forward.
Smile Hawaii 21st Century Dentistry
Our cosmetic dentist is here to bring out the best in your smile. Meet with us so we can assess your current smile, pinpoint areas for improvement and help you look your best. You can contact us at (808) 877-8090 to schedule an appointment2.