Surprisingly there are no qualifications a dentist can get in the UK for cosmetic dentistry. It has never been a specialised field in this country. This means that and any dentist can call himself a cosmetic dentist whether he is just a general dentist or truly an expert in the field. Dentists who wish to gain this level of expertise can do so through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry – the masters of the art of cosmetic dentistry. The A.A.C.D. was founded back in the early eighties and is the most recognised specialist of the art. Dentists from all over the States and a handful from the UK attend their annual general sessions to pick up all the latest skills and techniques being used and what the best materials are. More recently the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry was founded as an affiliate of the American Academy of Teeth Whitening Treatment Nassau County, aiming to promote clinical excellence in cosmetic dentistry in the UK. If you want to find one of the best cosmetic dentists, here are a few tips:
1] Get on the Internet if you have access. Go to several search engines and enter a search for ‘cosmetic dentist’, ‘London cosmetic dentistry’, ‘perfect smile’ etc. Most modern practices concerned with being at the forefront of cosmetic dentistry will have a website. The site should give you a good idea of what they have available.
2] Find out if the dentists are members of the AACD and BACD. Members of these bodies will have much more knowledge on the subject than non-members. Equally important is the number of veneers a dentist may have fitted during his career in cosmetic dentistry.
3] Find out what the clinic’s patients have to say about them. Is there a guest book of quotes from patients? Ask your dentist if any of his clients would be willing to talk to you about how they felt about having their teeth done. You’ll feel much more relaxed knowing someone is happy with the cosmetic dental work carried out by the dentist you are considering to do your teeth.
4] A good cosmetic dentist will have a portfolio of his work. Ask the dentist to see his portfolio. This should take the form of actual photographs of his clients’ before treatment and afterwards. Any dentist who is proud of his cosmetic work will want photographic evidence of it.
5] Does the dental practice use computer imaging? This is an excellent tool from the clients’ point of view. It gives you the opportunity to see what you would look like first if you went ahead with treatment. You then have a photo of what the cosmetic work will look like. Although this could never be 100% accurate – it’s pretty close. Not only that, it gives you the opportunity to explain to the dentist exactly how you would like your teeth to look – getting you what you want. The dentist’s ability to provide you with a good imaging picture will give you a good idea of how artistic he is naturally – this should follow through with his cosmetic dentistry.
6] A good cosmetic dentist will make up your new smile in wax for you to see on a 3d model – before they even pick up the drill! This is used so that you can see in advance what your new smile will look like and you can have changes made to it if you are unsure – before the real thing is made in porcelain.
Above all, make sure you are comfortable at the practice. You need to know that the dentist you are entrusting with your pearly whites is confident that the treatment he has outlined is going to be just as he says. You need to ask yourself:
a] Do you like the dentist and feel you could trust him? You may be taking a big step so make sure you have the right man for the job. Do you think he’s going to be able to give you what you want? Anyone can have cosmetic dentistry done at most practices, but will the results be as anticipated?
b] Does he make you feel relaxed? If you are a nervous patient you will want to know that the dentist understands.
c] Are there any guarantees with the cosmetic dentistry? Good quality porcelain work should come with a guarantee. Ask your dentist what would happen if in 3 years time, you chipped a porcelain veneer he did for you.
d] What kind of ‘aftercare’ do you get? You should be advised on how best to look after your new smile – after all, it may have cost you a few bob, and you want to know that it will still look good years on.