How to Choose a Cosmetic Dentist

These days, it seems as if every dentist would like to present him or herself as a cosmetic dentist. And that’s understandable – an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) report on the state of the industry in 2013 noted a rebound in the number of cosmetic procedures performed over the past several years, as an improving economy allowed more patients to invest in their smile.

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But would-be patients should be cautious when seeking a professional to fill cosmetic dentistry needs. Not all practitioners are equally qualified. Here are a few things to consider when evaluating a cosmetic dentist to see if he or she is a good fit for you.

  1. Experience – How long has this dentist been practicing? When did they start offering cosmetic dentistry services?
  2. Professional affiliations – The AACD offers multiple levels of membership, which represent increasing levels of education and expertise in cosmetic dental procedures. You can search for dentists with specific levels of membership accreditation on the AACD website.
  3. Commitment to continuing education – Cosmetic dentistry is a rapidly changing field. Post-graduate certifications indicate that the dentist wants to stay up to date.
  4. Before and after photos – These are visual proof that this dentist can give you the results you desire.
  5. Adjunct/support staff – The skills of the staff  with which a dentist works are as important as those of the practitioner.
  6. Testimonials – Find out what others are saying about the dentist. Tap your family and friends for word of mouth, check the dentist’s site for positive feedback, and ask if you can directly contact a few of his or her “raving fans.”

“The cosmetic dentist you choose should be client focused and actively partnering with you to achieve your goals,” says Dr. Carol Ford, who operates a cosmetic dentistry practice in Phoenix. “Your comfort, health and satisfaction should be their number one priority.”

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