Many patients google, “The Best Cosmetic Dentist in Houston” and will see a page full of names of dentists. How does one really know if these dentists are really providing excellent cosmetic dentistry?
To begin with, there is no American Dental Association recognition for Cosmetic Dental Specialist. This means patients should use caution when searching for a qualified cosmetic dentist. Cosmetic dentistry is an art and science and requires clinical skills and training as well as an excellent ceramist. However, it is the cosmetic dentist who needs to guide the ceramist and not vice versa.
There are almost always several options for patients who are considering cosmetic dental care. Not everyone needs a full smile makeover. Prior to beginning any treatment, a thorough consult and evaluation should be completed. The dentist should discuss with the patient the patients objectives and work from this point. Many times whitening of the teeth can be completed and then only a few teeth may need veneers as opposed to doing ten veneers.
A really good way for patients to see a cosmetic dentists skills and care is to ask to see before and after photos of similar cases. Make sure that close up photos are viewed and not just full facial photos in which one cannot see the details. Details that can be seen on retracted photos are :
(these before and after photos show many characteristics of the art of cosmetic dentistry as listed below)
- Anatomy of the tooth
- The finish at the gumline (no black lines or dark tooth showing)
- Texture and the way the veneers or crowns reflect light
- Proportions of the teeth to each other
- Making certain they do not look like chiclets
- Seeing how the smile follows the lipline
- Ensuring the teeth are proper size and shape for the individual
These are all factors that an astute cosmetic dentist should take into consideration when creating smiles for patients. Cosmetic Dentistry should embrace all facets of dentistry from single tooth restorations to dental implants to veneers and crowns and even implant dentures.
Another discussion is experience and how conservative the dentist can be to achieve the desired results. There are ways to calibrate the exact amount of preparation to needed.
There are also several ways to allow the patient to “test drive” their new smile design before placing the long term veneers or crowns. The provisionals or temporaries should be designed to reflect the long term ones. In this manner, the patient can see on themselves the length, shape, contours, and approximate shade as well.
Additionally, if your teeth are really worn down and broken, there may be other underlying problems with your bite or jaw that have caused this. Simply, doing cosmetic dentistry on these teeth may not last and they may break, wear, chip as well. This would be similar replacing tires on a car that is out of alignment and balance, and not aligning and balancing them when the new tires are placed.
An experienced and qualified cosmetic dentist will have numerous photographs of similar cases to show patients, not just one case. Look carefully and ask questions. Take a look at their website and see how you feel about the care.
On a final note, there are many wonderful cosmetic options to help patients have the smile they feel comfortable with. Choose carefully, ask questions and make sure the options are clearly discussed.