So, you have been thinking about making some changes in your smile. Congratulations! So how do you choose a cosmetic dentist? Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic influx of "cosmetic dentists" into the field so much so that in the industry, being a "cosmetic dentist" is almost a cliché . . . passé'. Why? Because these days, any general /family dentist who does things as simple as whitening teeth, can claim to be a cosmetic dentist.
Unlike many other medical specialists, dentists are not required to have any advanced education or training to practice cosmetic dentistry. In fact, the requirements for practicing Cosmetic Dentistry vary from state to state. As a result, some cosmetic dentists may not have undergone any advanced training at all.
This confusion to find an appropriate cosmetic dentist has grown out of the American Dental Association’s choice not to consider cosmetic dentistry as an approved ADA specialty like oral surgeons, orthodontists, periodontists, and so on. There is no professionally required course of study and testing that dentists must complete before being allowed to advertise themselves as cosmetic dentists! Selecting a cosmetic dentist can be a difficult and confusing process. Here are some tips I believe will help the selection process.
Take Your Time When considering any cosmetic dental procedure, take your time. Set your goals and determine the best options available for achieving those goals. Most cosmetic dental procedures are elective procedures, not emergencies. Time spent learning about the dental procedures, techniques, materials, and cosmetic dentists will pay great dividends in terms of your understanding and emotional comfort.
Check for Professional Credentials Search for a dentist who has post-graduate education and training in cosmetic or restorative dentistry from a reputable institution. Check membership in professional associations, such as the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (www.aacd.com). The AACD website is an excellent information source for reliable answers to cosmetic dental questions or to locate an accredited member with the academy. Accredited Members of the AACD have completed extensive advanced training and education in cosmetic dentistry, and have successfully passed the rigorous Accreditation Board Examination. These credentialed members have demonstrated a very high level of clinical excellence and ability in cosmetic dentistry.
How Experienced and What Training Does the Dentist Have? Excellent cosmetic dentistry requires the utmost attention to detail. Make sure the dentist listens to what you want and has a clear vision of what is artistically possible. This can only be achieved through experience and training. So, if you are considering a smile makeover, you should ask exactly how many smile designs the dentist has completed.
Before and After Photos of Work Performed by the Cosmetic Dentists To verify the experience of the cosmetic dentist, ask to view before and after photos of cosmetic dentistry that have actually been performed by that dentist. Beware that many dentists display commercially available photos and albums that show the possibilities for cosmetic dentistry. You want to confirm that you are seeing actual work by the dentist you are considering and make sure that the photos you look at are also cases similar to yours. You may even ask to speak to one or more of his or her patients.
Dr. Bernie Villadiego is the first and only dentist in North San Fernando Valley to be accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a distinction only earned by 300 cosmetic dentists worldwide.
For more information, contact Dr. Bernie B. Villadiego at the Aesthetic Smile Designs at 818-341-1345.