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How to Choose a Cosmetic Dentist

If a picture-perfect smile seems out of your reach, don't despair. Today's cosmetic dentistry technology combines art and science to create your very best, most natural smile, using state-of-the-art aesthetic materials and the latest techniques.

In the care of a knowledgeable and trained professional cosmetic dentist your smile can easily go from dull to dazzling. In many cases, your dream smile can be created in just a few brief visits, often with little or no pain. So how can you choose the right cosmetic dentist for you?

Here are a few helpful tips.

1. Do your homework

Research cosmetic dentists in your area. Ask friends, family members, neighbors, etc. about their experiences with the cosmetic dentists on your list of potential choices. Consider calling your State Licensing Board to ask about complaints filed against any of the potential cosmetic dentists on your list.

2. Interview several potential dentists

Most offer free cosmetic dentistry consultations. Your goal should be to find the cosmetic dentist who listens and understands your needs. The course of treatment suggested should be customized to your specific and overall goals, from the standpoint of reconstruction and looks. It's equally important for you to understand your dentist by getting a detailed description of each cosmetic dentistry procedure he or she is proposing, as well as clear answers to all your questions. Be sure to find out how much experience the cosmetic dentist has in performing your procedures.

3. Ask About Credentials

In cosmetic dentistry, practice makes perfect, so ask about credentials.

4. View before and after photos

Every good cosmetic dentist has a collection of cosmetic dentistry before and after photos of his or her patients. (Buyer Beware! Some less ethical dentists purchase photo albums of 'before and afters' for patients they did not personally treat. Ask if the pictures are the dentist's personal patients.) Look at the pictures closely and ask questions, paying attention to those with dental issues similar to yours.

5. Discuss various treatment options

A good cosmetic dentist will be completely honest about what can be done for you, how long it will take, and what your involvement will be in maintenance and follow-up. Be a bit wary of dentists who claim that all their procedures are pain-free. While advances have certainly helped to make dentistry more comfortable, there's no guarantee that you will be pain-free.

6. Check out the office

Does the equipment seem modern? Is the office clean and up-to-date? Don't be afraid to ask questions about the cosmetic dentist's specific technology and procedures. While you're at it, be sure to check out the sterilization areas too.

7. Choose someone you trust

The #1 criterion for choosing the right dentist is that you must feel comfortable with him or her and trust in the work they are about to perform.

When you agree to move forward with your customized cosmetic dentistry procedures, you're placing your smile in someone else's hands. It's worth the time and effort to find the qualified, experienced, trained professional to suit your needs.

As an additional resource, read our Questions to Ask a Cosmetic Dentist.

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