Patient Instructions on How To Find a Cosmetic Dentist

Aug. 28, 2001
The AACD provides guidelines to patients about to select the right cosmetic dentist.

Updated June 25, 2001 Madison, WI - -So you're considering making some improvements to your smile through cosmetic dentistry. Perhaps you desire whiter teeth or want to improve the look of a smile you've never quite been happy with. It's important when making this decision to find a qualified dentist who will listen to your concerns and provide you with a level of professional service that's right for you.

Communication is the key to finding the right cosmetic dentist.

When talking to your dentist, be prepared to ask questions and express your concerns. Make sure your dentist is listening and understands you. AACD President Dr. Arthur Chal says, "Good communication between dentists and their patients is more important today than ever before. A credentialed cosmetic dentist knows that the time invested in listening to patients before providing a clinical examination is time well spent, as it will help determine the course of treatment required. A person seeking cosmetic dental care is concerned with a lot more than cavities or gingivitis and has specific needs that need to be addressed."

Who can help?

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry� can help you find the right cosmetic dentist through its patient-referral and information network. The AACD is a professional dental organization with nearly 5,000 members worldwide, who are dedicated to advancements in the art and science of cosmetic dentistry.

AACD member-dentists receive continuing education through lectures, workshops, and journals in order to keep up-to-date with all of the advancements in cosmetic dental techniques and technology. The AACD also maintains a credentialing program called Accreditation, which provides both the dental profession and the public with a recognizable standard of excellence in the field. The Accreditation program requires dentists to prove their expertise in a variety of ways, including written and oral presentations on completed treatments for patients with a variety of cosmetic dental needs.

For more information about cosmetic dentistry or a doctor referral, contact the AACD at (800) 543-9220 or (608) 222-8583, or email: [email protected]. More information about cosmetic dentistry can also be found on the AACD Web Site. A doctor-referral system is also available online at

Other recommendations to help you find a qualified cosmetic dentist:

--Set up a consultation appointment with the dentist. A consultation allows you to talk one-on-one with your dentist. Be prepared to discuss how you feel about your smile and what changes you would like to make to achieve a desired outcome.

--Ask to see photographs of the types of treatments that the dentist has provided for other patients.

--Ask the dentist how he/she keeps up-to-date with new techniques and technology, including if the dentist attends any continuing-education seminars.

--Observe the overall atmosphere and cleanliness of the office, as well as how modern-looking the equipment and furnishings appear.

--Expect the dentist to recommend a comprehensive examination before any treatment begins. The dentist should be able to assess all aspects of your dental health, such as gum disease, tooth decay, overall oral function, and the potential longevity of the completed cosmetic treatment.

Once your dentist has provided you with a comprehensive examination and determined possible treatment options, you can discuss topics with him/her such as length of time treatment will take, the outcome of your new smile, and payment options.

After you and your cosmetic dentist have planned your ideal course of treatment, you can relax and look forward to a lifetime of beautiful smiles!