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How to Find the Best Cosmetic Dentist

Updated on July 26, 2010

Many people are self conscious about their teeth. Perhaps they did not receive proper dental or orthodontic care when they were children, resulting in crooked or missing teeth, or a mouth full of half-decayed teeth. Because they are very self-conscious about their teeth, they often let it negatively impact their personal, romantic, and business lives. This self-consciousness feeds on itself, as these people are still often too embarrassed to seek out professional help, preferring to ignore it or rationalize away its impact on their lives. Even if they do want help, many people don’t even know where to start looking, or are only aware of the possibilities of orthodontics. Many adults, especially, do not want to wear braces for the length of time required to fix their particular problem.

The field of cosmetic dentistry is the answer to their prayers. This vibrant discipline, with the constant innovation and development of new techniques and technologies, has fashioned many natural, pleasing smiles. Thousands of people seek out the help of these cosmetic dentists in order to improve their smile. This article is geared towards helping people find the best cosmetic dentist possible. Finding the perfect dentist or paying for his or her services may not be easy, but it will certainly be worth the boost in self-confidence that can result.

General Dentists vs. the Top Cosmetic Dentists

Technically, any dentist can claim to be a cosmetic dentist and can perform cosmetic dentistry procedures. There is no legal requirement or specialized degree in order to do this. While many dentists are skilled at fixing dental problems, they may not have the artistic or aesthetic eye required to do the best job they can. There is no aesthetic training requirement, and no amount of technical skill can replace a well-trained eye. Both general and cosmetic dentists are skilled in repairing and maintaining teeth, and in improving the looks of a smile, but they are not created equal; they have different skills sets. A general dentist is technically doing nothing wrong by claiming to be a cosmetic dentist, as they have learned the basic procedures necessary, but because they focus primarily on function, they have different (indeed lower) standards of beauty for the outcome of this work than a cosmetic dentist does. This is not to impugn the skills of a general dentist, but merely to note that different dentists have different capabilities. You should be mindful of this and use this knowledge when you go looking for the best cosmetic dentist. Make sure they have received the proper training and education needed to maximize the beauty of your new smile.

Finding the Best Cosmetic Dentists

One way to ensure you’re finding a truly qualified cosmetic dentist is to make use of their professional organizations. One useful resource to find a top cosmetic dentist is the directory of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics (ASDS). This is a professional society for aesthetic dentists that only admits members who have satisfy rigorous requirements, including the education, training, and experience necessary to build the best smiles. You can also try the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), another professional organization dedicated to the best cosmetic dentistry. These dentists are continually updated with the newest techniques and technologies, so you know you’re getting top cosmetic dentists with the most relevant and recent information. They are held to the highest standards of training and are a good place to start looking for the best cosmetic dentistry. Doing a google search for other websites of dentists may also help if the ASDS or the AACD does not have a cosmetic dentist in your area.

Buyer beware, however. Always do research on particular dentists you uncover, regardless of any professional certification or affiliation. Ask for recommendations or references, and especially try to track down unsolicited reviews from other patients. Request to see “before and after” pictures of their work. Be clear about what procedures they are able or unable to do, and how much time and money it will cost to do them. Most importantly, you should like your cosmetic dentist and feel comfortable around him or her. Without that personal connection, you won’t feel secure enough to get your cosmetic dental work done. The personal relationship you have with the dentist also matters because the best cosmetic dentists will be cognizant of your perceptions of your smile, and tailor your smile to those needs. They do not work with a cookie-cutter standard of beauty, but take the feelings and perceptions of their patients into close consideration when building a new smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry Costs

The cost of cosmetic dentistry can vary widely. This is not an area to scrimp and scrounge, however, as paying substandard fees will result in substandard work. The money required can be significant, depending on the complexity of the work necessary. Extremely high prices, however, do not guarantee high skilled work.

Cosmetic dentistry cost depends on what types of procedures are done. Total costs for the entire work can range from $500 to $10,000 or more. Costs are high for many factors, including compensation for extra training and the expensive materials required to get the job done right. In addition, do not count on your dental insurance paying for the best care, as this insurance is only concerned with how your teeth work, not how they look. Take extra care in making your decision as there is no “return policy” if you don’t like how your teeth end up. This makes choosing the right cosmetic dental care provider even more important.

Overall, cosmetic dentistry may be the right decision for you if the look of your teeth negatively affects the quality of your life. Just make sure you do your research, find a trained, gentle dentist, and pay the financial price needed to brighten the rest of your life.

For more information on dentistry, see this article on how to find a good TMJ dentist. Plus, learn how to locate an emergency dentist if you need one.


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    • Igal profile image

      Igal 6 years ago from Los angeles

      Nice hub.I am glad to read it .

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      Austin Smile Creations, Cosmetic and Implant Dentist 7 years ago

      There is one thing that is important that most people don't even think about. You have to choose the right kind of dentist for yourself, expecially when you need some cosmetic work. When choosing a cosmetic dentist, make sure you meet the doctor for a consultation or some treatment before the actual full-blown makeover. The key is to figure out if you and your cosmetic dentist can understand each other and if your personalities click. It is not just about education, experience, and modern equipment. There are many very educated dentists in Austin, TX, for example, even though it is a small city. But it is also about the level of artistry that the dentist should have to be able to translate your individual anatomy and your personality into your smile. You don’t want to end up will a smile that’s well-made but absolutely not yours! For more information go to

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      Hartford CT Dentist 7 years ago

      The best way is always ask around and get 2 or 3 quotes on work needed and pricing.

      Ask for pictures of previous work.