Choosing the very best cosmetic dentist is a difficult task. Why? Namely, because, as you might expect, everyone claims to be “the best.” And, everyone claims to be a “cosmetic” dentist.
With that being said, we’d like to provide you with five easy ways for you to evaluate a cosmetic dentist’s ability to give you the level of dentistry you deserve and desire.
1. Stock photos vs. actual patient photos in advertising
Take a look at the dentist’s website and advertising materials. Is the dentist using stock photography, also known as “purchased photos” of models? Or are they using images of their own patients — patients to whom they have provided “smile makeovers”? To determine this, watch and see if patient names are listed next to the patient, and watch for phrases such as “Actual patient of Dr. Jones.”
If you’re not sure about the photos you are seeing on a website or in advertising, ask your prospective dentist if the photographs are of “actual” patients or they are purchased stock photos.
Dr. Kathy Sanders uses images of her actual patients in advertising and on her website.
2. AACD accreditation vs. AACD membership
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) is the world’s foremost cosmetic dental authority. Dentists travel from across the globe to attend the AACD’s annual scientific symposium. Is the dentist you’re considering a member of the AACD?
After determining AACD membership, a second important step is to ask if the dentist is “accredited.”
Developed by the AACD, the accreditation process is the world’s most recognized and advanced cosmetic dentistry credentialing program. In fact, the accreditation, which takes a minimum of five years to complete, includes an extensive written exam, required seminars, the peer review of five cosmetic dentistry cases (reviewed by a panel of the world’s leading cosmetic dentists), and a rigorous oral examination.
A dentist who has successfully completed accreditation with the AACD is truly an exceptional cosmetic dentist.
When choosing a dentist, ask if he or she is a member of the AACD. Finally, ask if he or she has achieved accreditation with the AACD.
Dr. Kathy Sanders is an accredited member of the AACD.
3. Quality of materials and ceramists used
Often patients choose to base their decision regarding a cosmetic dentist on … cost. Assuming that “all cosmetic dentists are created equal,” a patient will choose a dentist who offers the best price, without ever considering quality.
Quite often, dentists with the lowest prices are the least trained, and use both inferior materials and inferior dental laboratories. As a result, because they have not invested in their own training, and because they are paying less for materials and services, they are able to charge their patients less.
When you think of it this way, you realize that they are not only passing along the low cost, they are also passing along low quality.
An excellent cosmetic dentist, trained by the world’s leading cosmetic dentists, chooses only the best materials (that will stand the test of time, thereby saving you time and money over the course of the years), but also the very best dental laboratories. And this excellence comes at a price.
When choosing a cosmetic dentist, ask about the quality of the materials they use. Also find out if the dental ceramist (the individual who makes the veneers and crowns) has received accreditation through the AACD.
Dr. Kathy Sanders uses only the best materials and collaborates with only the most accomplished, AACD-accredited cosmetic dental ceramists.
4. Commitment to continuing education for doctor and team
Unfortunately, any dentist who provides basic “cosmetic” work such as simple bonding may advertise to be a “cosmetic” dentist, when in reality, they’ve never had specialized cosmetic training beyond what they received in dental school.
When choosing a cosmetic dentist, ask about their pursuit of continuing education. Where did they receive training? How many hours of training do they receive each year? What types of courses do they take?
Another great question is “What continuing education do you provide your team members?” A cosmetic dentist committed to excellence will also be diligent concerning the level of professional training each of his or her team members receives.
Each year, Dr. Sanders and her team accrue dozens of continuing education and professional growth hours of learning. Her commitment to continuing education has taken Dr. Sanders to advanced scientific seminars and one-on-one training symposiums across the nation.
5. All aesthetic glamour and glitz? What about function?
Everyone love a gorgeous smile. However, what if that smile were simply beautiful without being “functional”? While some cosmetic dentists are capable of providing an aesthetically pleasing smile, they may not be as proficient in providing a truly “functional” smile.
What is a functional smile? It’s one that not only looks great but feels and “works” great! An accomplished cosmetic dentist will be able to give you a smile that is not only beautiful, but also provides maximum comfort.
Unfortunately, many patients who have received inferior cosmetic dentistry are plagued by headaches and a painful “bite” due to receiving cosmetic dentistry from someone who was not accomplished in the “function” of cosmetic dentistry.
Additionally, when a new smile is not correctly “aligned,” it will become damaged by the wear and tear of improper alignment. While you may have saved initially with a dentist who gave you a better price, you will spend more more in the long run for dentistry that has to be replaced.
Ask your prospective cosmetic dentist what type of occlusal training they’ve had in cosmetic dentistry. Did they merely study occlusion in dental school or have they attended advanced continuing educational training so that they are providing not only artistic beauty but also function?
Dr. Kathy Sanders is known for her advanced occlusal training. She has studied under some of the world’s leading cosmetic dentists, and gone to great lengths and expense to advance her knowledge so that she will be able to provide a smile that is both beautiful and functional.