It is very important that you choose a qualified and highly experienced cosmetic dentist. A dentist who has performed many cosmetic dentistry procedures will have had more time to perfect their technique and results and are better able to handle emergency situations should they arise. There are several guidelines to follow in order to ensure that you choose the best possible cosmetic dentist. Look for the following factors when deciding who to trust your oral health to:
Accreditation – It is a good idea for your cosmetic dentist to be accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. [link to aacd.com] This accreditation is an indication that the dentist has had extra training in the field of cosmetic dentistry.
Before & Afters – Ask your cosmetic dentist to show you before and after photos of patients who have undergone cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Personal Care – For successful dental care it is important to have a cosmetic dentist who takes a sincere interest in their patients’ general health. It makes sense to select and become acquainted with a dentist before a dental emergency arises.
Availability – you need to select a dentist that you will actually be able to see based on location and your schedule. Many dentists keep vastly different schedules. Some are available evenings and weekends others not. Is the appointment schedule convenient for you? Is the office easy to get to from your home or place of business? What arrangements does the dentist have for handling emergencies that occur outside of office hours? Does he or she have an answering service or paging service?
Experience – look for a cosmetic dentist who is experienced in a variety of cosmetic procedures. A dentist with experience is better prepared to deal with emergencies and will be able to help you shape your smile with optimal results.
Professionalism – What is the general appearance of the office, the dentist, and the staff? Is everything neat, clean, and orderly? Keep in mind that every dental office must abide by the current OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines for sterilization and disinfection.
Here are some of the ways you can locate qualified cosmetic dentists in your area:
Call or write the dental society
Speak to your family physician or local pharmacist
Ask friends, neighbors, co-workers, clergy, etc. to recommend a dentist
Speak to faculty members of dental schools in your area
Call or write a nearby hospital that has an accredited dental service
Check the ADA directory, which can be found in many public libraries and in all dental school libraries
After completing your research, call a cosmetic dentist for an initial consultation. During your first visit you should be able to learn a lot about whether a particular cosmetic dentist is right for you.