How to Choose a Raleigh Cosmetic Dentist

If you’ve been thinking about enhancing your smile, you may also have been wondering how to choose a cosmetic dentist that is qualified and meets your needs. The information provided here is intended to give you background information that will help you make the best decision.


First of all, the American Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t recognize “cosmetic dentistry” as a specialized field of practice for dentists. Similarly, the NC Dental Board – the licensing and regulatory body for dentists practicing in the state – doesn’t have special regulations that are unique to becoming a cosmetic dentist. In other words, you can’t call the NC Dental Board and request a list of Raleigh cosmetic dentists to choose from – any general dentist can make the decision to provide cosmetic dentistry services.


Doctorate of dental surgery (DDS) education includes training on the discipline and technologies associated with providing cosmetic dentistry services in a general way. And the training programs in the 90’s and beyond are certainly different from the ones in previous decades because of the growing demand for cosmetic dentistry services. So how DO you go about choosing the best Raleigh cosmetic dentist?


First and Foremost – Experience

A Raleigh cosmetic dentist who has truly chosen that as a professional focus will usually offer these services:

· Veneers and cosmetic bonding

· Tooth whitening treatments

· Orthodontics (e.g., braces and aligners)

· Bridges and crowns

· Composite/tooth-colored fillings

· Dental implants


Beyond that, you want to explore not only before/after photo examples, but to also understand the depth of experience. Looks are only part of the equation when it comes to excellence in cosmetic dentistry. Functionality and oral health are two other critical components. Being able to achieve all three comes from experience. Will that bright smile you flash next week be offset by the increased risk of oral cancer in years to come? Will you love the look of your new veneers, but find it very difficult to bite things?


Consider asking any prospective cosmetic dentist to provide more information on his or her experience.

· How many years of experience does he or she have in providing cosmetic dentistry services?

· If you have an idea about the type of services you might need, ask specifically for years of experience in providing that type of service. Of course, you can always request an initial consultation and find out what is recommended for you, and then ask those questions.

· Look for specialized training that the Raleigh cosmetic dentist may have received – particularly in specialized settings (large hospitals) where there are departments that specialize in orthodontics, craniofacial, or dentofacial services. Hands-on experience with some of the toughest cosmetic dentistry cases can be obtained in those settings.

· If you’re looking for orthodontic services, there may be indicators such as having been named as a preferred provider of services (such as Invisalign’s “invisible braces”) based on having provided the services to a substantial number of patients.


Other Factors to Consider

If you have been known to experience dental anxiety, need extensive cosmetic dentistry procedures, or simply have a hectic schedule, you may want to also look for a cosmetic dentist in Raleigh, NC who is certified to perform sedation dentistry. It is sometimes possible to combine what might otherwise require two or three appointments into a single appointment by using sedation dentistry. (Ask whether your dentist is certified by the NC Dental Board to provide sedation dentistry. The NC Dental Board instituted special regulations to ensure your safety in the administration of sedation in 2009! Relatively few Raleigh dentists are certified!)


Because “vision” is part of being a good cosmetic dentist, you might want to consider the surroundings of your prospective Raleigh cosmetic dentist’s office. It’s not an infallible test, but someone who appreciates the importance of office design (emphasizing both aesthetics and comfort) may also have a good eye and good approach to “designing” your new smile. Are form and function in good balance in the office setting? Function should not be compromised for appearance, but appearance does matter!


Finally, do not be afraid to inquire about what cosmetic dentistry procedures are or are not covered by your specific insurance plan when you discuss a potential treatment plan with a prospective cosmetic dentist. Because many procedures performed today are elective, insurance may not apply. For that reason, you might want to also ask about available payment options, especially for more extensive treatment plans.