Face it, we live in a world where a person’s appearance can have a huge impact on every aspect of their lives. The increasing popularity and uptake of cosmetic dentistry is therefore hardly surprising.
Cosmetic dentists are the dental clinicians that focus on enhancing your smile or facial appearance.
However, it’s important to note that Cosmetic Dentistry is not a specialty branch of dentistry that is recognised by the Australian Dental Association. In other words, any general dentist can provide cosmetic dentistry services.
So if you’re looking for a good Cosmetic Dentist, that usually means that you are looking for a competent general dentist who has the appropriate training, expertise and experience to carry out cosmetically-driven dental procedures that raises the aesthetic quotient of one’s smile.
To help you make an informed decision, here are some questions you may wish to ask in respect of whether the cosmetic dentist meets your specific cosmetic dental needs, wants and requirements.
Question #1: How much experience do you have?
One way to gauge the experience of the dentist is to survey the range of cosmetic dental services that they offer. Dentists who focus on cosmetic dentistry typically offer these services:
- Orthodontics, including clear braces and aligners
- Dental veneering/ Porcelain veneers
- Dental bonding/ tooth-coloured bonding
- Teeth whitening
- Dental bridge
- Dental crown
- Composite tooth-coloured fillings
- Dental implants
In view of what treatment you are after, it’s also advisable to ask for “before and after” photos to have an idea of their cosmetic dentistry skills.
You should also inquire about their depth of experience. How long has the cosmetic dentist been practicing cosmetic dental treatments? How many patients has he or she treated with the specific type of treatment that you will require?
Question #2: Do you provide sedation or sleep dentistry?
This is especially important for two reasons: if you suffer from any form of dental anxiety; or if you are interested in a smile makeover – which entails undergoing a combination of cosmetic dental treatments.
Sedation dentistry is designed to give nervous patients a comfortable treatment experience. It is sometimes used when dentists combine what might otherwise require two or three appointments into a single appointment. By using sedation, multiple procedures can be carried out in one sitting without compromising your health or quality of the results.
Question #3: To what extent can you tailor your treatment plan to my needs?
It may be down to a lack of experience or just a lacklustre attitude to customer service, but some cosmetic dentists aren’t very flexible in what they offer.
The result is that the proposed plan might not be the best one for you, whether from the standpoint of your oral health, budget or desired outcome.
It is true that you should expect to pay premium dollars for dentists that have the expertise and reputation to command higher fees. That said, an experienced cosmetic dentist can often strike a good balance between achieving the best treatment outcomes and doing so on a decent budget.
If you have been presented with a treatment plan that is out of your budget, do not feel obliged to accept it. Rather you shouldn’t be afraid to look for another cosmetic dentist that is willing to work with you, and devise a plan that suits your budget.