5 Essential Credentials to Look for in a Cosmetic Dentist
Why Are Credentials Important?
Cosmetic dentistry is an excellent way to animate your smile and radiate confidence wherever you go. Unfortunately, the American Dental Association doesn’t recognize cosmetic dentistry as one of its ten dental specialties, meaning any dentist can call themselves a “cosmetic dentist.”
If you want to find a dentist who can produce stunning cosmetic results, there are a few things you can look for that will separate them from the rest of the pack. Below, we’ll outline five credentials that will help you locate a dentist who exemplifies the beauty and precision needed for spectacular cosmetic treatment.
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#1) Postgraduate Training
As we mentioned above, it’s crucial to know what to look for in a cosmetic dentist so you can feel comfortable throughout the process of improving your smile. One credential to look for in an advanced dentist is if they have any postgraduate training.
Since the majority of dental schools don’t offer classes on cosmetic dentistry, you may be wondering how you’ll be able to spot postgraduate training that will benefit cosmetic procedures.
There are several things to look for, but you’ll want to focus on any training related to the specific procedures encompassed by cosmetic dentistry, including:
- Porcelain veneers
- Laser dentistry
- Teeth whitening
- Dental crowns
- Gingival contouring
- Dental implants
If the dentist in question has postgraduate training in any of the procedures mentioned above, they’re on their way to fulfilling the necessary guidelines for an excellent cosmetic dentist.
For example, Dr. Michael Carley, in Santa Barbra, CA, is an expertly-trained implant and cosmetic dentist. Following his formal training, he completed a year-long general practice residency, focusing on implant dentistry, prosthetic dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. This supplemental training sets him apart from other dentists and highlights his passion for being one of the countries top dental practitioners.
#2) AACD Qualification
Beyond their training, another easy qualification to look for is if they are associated with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). This organization is the most well-known cosmetic dentistry group in the world.
Dentists accredited by the AACD are required to undergo rigorous cosmetic dentistry education and training. They’re also required to present a certain amount of cases to the AACD board members, pass written and oral exams, and represent a strict set of dentistry ethics and standards.
Due to the grand expectations required to become an AACD dentist, you can rest assured knowing that any dentist who’s listed in the AACD directory will be more reliable than most dentists who simply put cosmetic dentistry as a specialty.
#3) Fellowship, Mastership, or Diplomate Status
Within each major dental organization, dentists can prove their cosmetic abilities by completing a certain number of specialized training hours and presenting case studies to a panel of expert judges. Once they finish the process, they’ll be revered with the titles of Fellowship, Mastership, or Diplomate.
A cosmetic dentist with any of the three titles is acknowledged as the highest level of expertise in cosmetic dentistry. When you’re researching cosmetic dentists, see if any of the following certifies them:
- The American Board of Oral Implantologists (ABOI)
- The International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI)
- The American Dental Implant Association (ADIA)
- The International Academy of Dental Implantology (IADI)
For example, Dr. Helios Houenou in Lawrenceville, GA, is a prominent dental implantologist and cosmetic dentist. He’s earned the Fellowship title with the IADI and the ADIA. Beyond that, he’s also been merited the Mastership title with the ICOI. If you’re interested in results that will look amazing and last for years to come, check him out.
#4) Practical Experience
Another excellent determiner of a quality cosmetic dentist is their experience. Just like a potential new hire is vetted for their industry knowledge, you can ask the dentist the same questions about the types of procedures they’ve completed in the past.
How many times have they helped others that were in the same situation you are? How often do they complete the procedure that you’re interested in? Unless the dentist has hands-on experience, you may want to continue your search elsewhere.
#5) Before & Afters and Testimonials
The fifth and final way you can decide which dentist is going to provide the best results for your smile is to search their website for any before and after photos or testimonials from previous patients.
Before and after images are great, especially for cosmetic procedures, because they allow you to see the dentist’s ability to transform a smile. If you’re interested in dental veneers and you find a dentist whose before and afters show crooked, misaligned veneers, you may want to seek out a different dentist.
Additionally, a dentist with reviews or testimonials from previous patients is a perfect way to see if people are happy with the work they’ve received.
For example, Dr. Todd Martin has an entire page on his website dedicated to patient testimonials. He’s referred to as “very knowledgeable and professional,” by one patient and “the best dentist I’ve been to” by another.
Get the Results You Deserve
Whether you’ve found a dentist already or are still searching for one, you can use these five credentials to help you differentiate the general dentists hiding under the cosmetic title and the well-deserved cosmetic dentists who have the training and expertise to ensure your smile receives the care you would expect.