What should you know before choosing a cosmetic dentist for smile enhancements?
Dr. Mark Sowell is 1 of 40 cosmetic dentists worldwide to hold mastership status from The Academy of General Dentistry and Accredited Membership with The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Uniquely qualified and experienced, Dr. Sowell understands the complexities of creating a beautiful smile supported by a stable bite for long-term oral health. Dr. Sowell offers some advice on how to choose the right cosmetic dentist.
Choosing The Right Cosmetic Dentist
Trying to figure out how to choose a dentist to enhance your smile can be a baffling task for someone not in the profession. It is similar to buying a car without knowing what type of car you are getting, only that it will provide transportation. If you go to your general dentist whom you got from your insurance company list (PPO) you may have a familiarity or relationship with them. But, he does fillings and crowns on back teeth all day and they may not quite match your teeth if you look closely. So you say, I will look up a cosmetic dentist. The problem with this is anyone who is a dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist. Cosmetic Dentistry is not a recognized specialty of the American Dental Association like Plastic Surgery with the American Medical Association. It could be like going to you primary care doctor to have plastic surgery done.
If you have a friend who has had a complex smile enhancement done, this is a great referral and place to start. This may be difficult because most people who have a great attractive smile created by a talented cosmetic dentist do not tell people about it as they want people to think it is their own teeth. This is why they took the time to research for an experienced qualified cosmetic dentist. If you have a friend who has just had some bleaching or minor bonding or braces done, that is probably not what you are looking for.
Searching the word cosmetic dentist is a good place to start on the internet but only the beginning. Anyone who offers white fillings and bleaching can consider themselves a cosmetic dentist. To make sure they are qualified and have been tested under rigorous standards look to see if they are Accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The AACD has they highest standards in the field for their accreditation process and is know as the “gold standard or benchmark “ in cosmetic dentistry. There are only approximately 400 dentists worldwide who have passed the process.
The next thing to check is to make sure they are experienced. To start with go to the smile gallery on their websites and closely look at the clinical pictures (cheeks pulled back to show teeth). Take notice of the before and after pictures on their websites of actual patients they have treated and notice the volume of cases. You want to see a lot of beautiful natural smiles, you should look for quality, and quantity of cases. Be careful of attractive websites with stock art models.
Then look to see if they have an in-house master ceramists ( talented artist and technician in porcelain). The relationship between the dentist and technician takes years of working together to fine tune creating predictable and consistent results. Both the dentist and the ceramist must be artists and well-trained perfectionists. Having an onsite ceramist means your design will likely be more customized to your needs and he is available for instant onsite modifications without having to reschedule your appointment. If you are only interested in bonding composite to your teeth a ceramist is not needed, but the durability and longevity are not the same as porcelain.
Now with your list of dentists, you are ready for interviews, usually, a good cosmetic dentist will offer a complimentary consultation as a good relationship is important for both parties.
During your visit evaluate if you feel like you are being heard, understood and feel comfortable with the dentist and staff. Ask if any staff has had smile enhancements done and can show you their work. Ask to see photo albums of before and after cases. Ask how many cases has the doctor done like yours and can they show you pictures of similar cases.
Ask about the process, and if you will be able to evaluate the prototypes and approve them before moving forward to the finals. If you are a clencher and grinder (short worn irregular front teeth) how will the dentist plan to accommodate the functional design to manage these forces on the new porcelain?
If you have a high smile line (show your gums) is the dentist trained to do gum lifts if needed or does he have to refer that out to a periodontist. If you need implants placed is the dentist trained to place implants or does he also have to refer that out? Is oral sedation offered? Are invisible liners offered for tooth movement if needed? In other words is the dentist trained to offer turnkey service.
Finally, inquire about fees. It may seem counter-intuitive since budgets are important but quality cosmetic procedures should run 30-40% higher than back teeth because of the increased time the dentist will need to spend with the patient and in the lab with design work, wax-ups, prototype stents as well as the higher laboratory fee for the master ceramist. If the fee is too low you are taking a big risk.
You have probably seen all sorts of people with poorly done unnatural smiles, even celebrities, regardless of how much money they have. You see it in the media all the time. It is artwork to recreate nature and requires a year of advanced dental education in neuromuscular training and experience.
Following these steps will help you evaluate and choose a cosmetic dentist you will feel comfortable with and make your experience and investment a positive memory.
– Dr. Mark Sowell
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If you’ve been searching for a qualified cosmetic dentist – you’ve come to the right place. Dr. Mark Sowell combines his advanced training as a general dentist and cosmetic dentist – along with his experience as a sedation dentist, implant dentist and emergency dentist – to give his patients more of what today’s dental care has to offer. Whether you need a cosmetic smile makeover or want to restore a functional smile, Dr. Sowell has the credentials and technology available to offer results that will meet your aesthetic and dental health goals.