As a patient, you have every right to ask for and receive the best available treatment, yet sometimes finding the right cosmetic dentist for a specific treatment – for say, dental implants or veneers – can be a hit or miss.
The first thing to note about practitioners of cosmetic dentistry is that any dentist can claim to be one. There isn’t a dental association in Australia (or anywhere else, for that matter) that recognises cosmetic dentistry as a subspecialty. As a result, picking out the right professional with whom you can entrust your cosmetic dental needs can get pretty dicey.
Thankfully, there are other ways to determine whether a cosmetic dentist actually possesses the relevant skills, experience and qualifications for the job. Here are several important tips to help you make a better choice:
Once you have a short-list of potential cosmetic dentists in your area, you should be researching the people on the list: Which ones among these cosmetic dentists have completed postgraduate courses in the specific procedure that you are interested in? That provides a straightforward assessment of the clinician’s cosmetic studies in relation to your treatment needs.
Beyond that, do they showing an inclination to stay updated by attending continuing education courses in cosmetic dentistry? A dentist who is committed to this field would be learning more on the job and staying ahead of the curve.
A well-trained and knowledgeable cosmetic dentist will go a long way to determine not only the success rate of your treatment, but also how aesthetic and natural-looking the treatment outcome will be.
Has the cosmetic dentist been accredited by a professional cosmetic dental association? If so, that would further indicate his or her active participation in continuing education courses in cosmetic dental treatments.
While cosmetic dentistry is not a recognised dental specialty, there are professional bodies that accredit dentists that have undergone a substantial amount of education and training in the field.
To earn their accreditation, dentists are required to pass comprehensive oral and written examinations, in addition to presenting relevant cases of cosmetic dentistry procedures before an expert panel. Part of the ongoing assessment criteria to maintain accreditation requires cosmetic dentists to stay abreast of the latest technological trends while being held to stringent standards of ethics in practicing cosmetic dentistry treatment.
Experienced cosmetic dentists who are good at what they do are typically more than happy to provide you with before and after photographs of patients that they have previously treated. The permission to obtain and share these images has to be sought with said patients so the fact that they are being shown to you provides a strong indication of the patient’s satisfaction with the treatment. Of course, you can judge for yourself the veracity of the practitioner’s claims simply by reviewing the smile transformations in the photos.
NOTE: To make a sound judgement, remember to ask the dentist to show you a photo that is similar to your case.
Referral or Recommendation
If your current general dentist does not offer cosmetic treatments, he or she can still refer you to someone who can. Most dentists would have built a network of qualified practitioners from which you can draw trustworthy referrals. Besides professional referrals, do not disregard the less informal but no less informational recommendations from family, friends or work colleagues.
In the age of social media, cosmetic dentists worth their salt will certainly enjoy healthy online reviews. Be sure to check those out as well.
It’s ok to ask
Whether you are considering teeth whitening, dental veneers, implants or CAD/CAM restorations, do not be afraid to ask your potential dentist about his or her cosmetic training background, especially in relation to your needs. Remember: It’s not rude to ask. Failure to do so, however, may result in a rude shock.
Looking for a qualified and trustworthy Cosmetic Dentist? Book an appointment with our friendly and experienced Cosmetic Dental Team today – call North Sydney Dental Practice at 02 8074 5386.