How To Choose A Cosmetic Dentist

For starters, typically you have to rely on word of mouth from your own network to find a promising recommendation, because there is no professional referral system in place for cosmetic dentistry. Also, there is no third party insurance administrator or system to guide you in finding a referral to a cosmetic dentist.

So when it comes to locating a great cosmetic dentistry professional, it can feel like you are completely on your own! This article aims to give you the tools you need to find the right cosmetic dentist for your needs and goals.

How to Find Quality Referrals to a Cosmetic Dentist

Your first call should always be to your own medical dentist. This is because your medical dentist will already be familiar with any existing medical issues that may impact your decision to seek cosmetic dentistry care.

This is important because, ideally, cosmetic dentistry work should be the final step to achieving the fabulous smile you desire. First, you need to address and treat any underlying issues, rather than trying to use cosmetic procedures to camouflage a problem. So if your teeth need straightening or your bite is off; if you have cavities or gum disease; if you are suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder); or if you are experiencing other medical issues in your teeth, gums, and mouth, those should be addressed first before you seek cosmetic improvement for your smile.

Links To Canadian Dental Organizations

Canadian Dental Service Plans Inc.

CDSPI focuses on helping dental professionals successfully reach their goals by providing financial planning solutions and other support in a way no other organization does.

Canadian Dental Regulatory Authorities Federation

CDRAF is the national forum and collective voice of provincial and territorial dental regulatory authorities on regulatory matters. The Federation is the only organization that speaks for the over 18,000 dentists in Canada on professional regulatory issues related to the practice of dentistry.

Royal College of Dentists of Canada

The Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC) was established by an Act of the Federal Government of Canada in 1965 to promote the high standards of specialization in the dental profession and to recognize properly trained dental specialists.

National Dental Examining Board of Canada

The NDEB was established by an Act of Parliament in 1952. The Act makes the NDEB responsible for the establishment of qualifying conditions for a national standard of dental competence for general practitioners, for establishing and maintaining an examination facility to test for this national standard of dental competence and for issuing certificates to dentists who successfully meet this national standard.

Your medical dentist will be able to tell you which issues can be addressed in a general dentistry practice and when you may need a referral to a specialist such as an orthodontist, a periodontist or endodontist, a prosthodontist or even an oral maxillofacial surgeon for a complete mouth reconstruction.

After any medical issues are addressed, your medical dentist or specialist may also be able to provide you with referrals to a cosmetic dentist who can put the finishing touches on your new and beautiful smile.

How to Evaluate Cosmetic Dentist Referrals

Luckily, there are certain key things you can look for to begin the process of selecting your new cosmetic dentist.

For example, you will want to know if the dentist is a member of the Canadian Dental Association. You will also want to ask if they have credentials from the National Dental Examining Board of Canada, which is the national licensing entity that oversees the competence of dental professionals practicing throughout Canada. In all this, you will also want to ask how long the dentist has been in cosmetic dentistry, and also to see proof the dentist is attending continuing education to keep their knowledge base current.

You will also want to know what special certifications or licenses the cosmetic dentist may hold. Some cosmetic dentists specialize in surface improvements only, such as whitening and veneers. Others may deal with cosmetic issues related to medical reconstruction, such as crowns, implants and shaping.

And you will want to know what technologies are used in the procedures performed in the office, such as laser, imaging, molds and models and 3D reconstruction. Ask to see before and after photos of recent patients and see if you like the results. Find out if you can talk to other patients to hear their opinion of the results they got. Search online to see what other patients say about the cosmetic dentist and what kinds of ratings the dentist has received.

Finally, see if you can take a virtual tour of the office from the dentist’s website, or come in and see for yourself what the atmosphere is like. Look to see if you are offered a calm, serene environment to wait in and ask what is done to calm and soothe you during the procedure (some dentists offer music piped through headphones, sedation, the option to watch television or even light spa therapy services).

Once you have evaluated each cosmetic dentist on your referral list using this comprehensive checklist, you will have a much better idea of which dentist is the right fit for your needs.

Links to Canadian Dental Associations

Canadian Dental Association

The Canadian Dental Association is dedicated to providing up-to-date information on issues that affect oral health and the practice of dentistry.

Canadian Dental Service Plans Inc.

CDSPI focuses on helping dental professionals successfully reach their goals by providing financial planning solutions and other support in a way no other organization does.

Canadian Dental Regulatory Authorities Federation

CDRAF is the national forum and collective voice of provincial and territorial dental regulatory authorities on regulatory matters. The Federation is the only organization that speaks for the over 18,000 dentists in Canada on professional regulatory issues related to the practice of dentistry.

Royal College of Dentists of Canada

The Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC) was established by an Act of the Federal Government of Canada in 1965 to promote the high standards of specialization in the dental profession and to recognize properly trained dental specialists.

National Dental Examining Board of Canada

The NDEB was established by an Act of Parliament in 1952. The Act makes the NDEB responsible for the establishment of qualifying conditions for a national standard of dental competence for general practitioners, for establishing and maintaining an examination facility to test for this national standard of dental competence and for issuing certificates to dentists who successfully meet this national standard.

Preparing for Your Cosmetic Dentistry Consultation

Once you have selected a cosmetic dentist, it is time to make your initial consultation. In this consultation, which is typically a bit longer than the average dental appointment, you will share your needs and goals, and your new dentist will do a thorough review of your dental history to date and the current state of your mouth.

You will want to prepare your own list of questions to ask as well, since the consultation is a great time to get those questions answered. And you may want to take the step of requesting your medical (dental) records be sent to your new cosmetic dentist so they will be there by the time you arrive for your consultation – this will expedite the consultation process.

During your consultation, the cosmetic dentist may perform an oral exam, take x-rays and intra-oral photographs, take impressions (models) of your bite and also review photos of various cosmetic options so you can select the look you want.

You may also meet with a patient coordinator and financial coordinator to discuss pre- and post-visit preparations and any financial concerns you may have. If your new dentist does not offer a variety of payment options (such as a discount for paying in full or a payment plan), ask if they can give you a referral to a third-party service that offers dental loans.

Before you leave the consultation, you may want to take a few minutes to sit quietly in the waiting room and jot down your overall thoughts. Consider what it was like talking with the dentist and their staff. Did you feel comfortable and at ease? Did the dentist and staff members take sufficient time to sit with you and answer all your questions? How was the office ambience – did you feel calm and relaxed? How confident do you feel that this is the right cosmetic dentist for your needs? It may help to give the visit a rating from 1 to 10 so you can refer back to it later.

What You Need to Know Before Your Cosmetic Procedure

Before you arrive for the actual date of your procedure, you need to make sure you have a complete treatment plan in hand.

In other words, you should have your diagnosis and a complete step by step outline of what the dentist will do to achieve the results you want. In this plan, you should be informed about what kind of materials will be used, if more than one procedure will be required (and if so, how long the wait is between procedures), what you can do to prepare, what the recovery will be like (and whether you will need to take any time off work), and whether results will be temporary, semi-permanent or permanent.

Most importantly, you should feel excited and confident about this cosmetic dentist’s ability to help you achieve and maintain the smile you want over the long term!

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