You want a gorgeous smile. Maybe that’s youthful and sexy. Or, maybe it’s classy and sophisticated.
That special smile is different for everyone, but unless you were born with unusually exceptional genes, there’s only one way to get it…with the right cosmetic dentist.
If I were to create a perfect smile recipe, it would have three ingredients: Technical knowledge and skill, a listening ear, and an artistic eye.
Technical knowledge and skill
Cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialty. There isn’t an extra year of dental school we can attend in order to be labeled a “cosmetic dentist.” This means every cosmetic dentist you encounter is actually a general dentist who also does cosmetic procedures.
The field of dentistry is transforming.
Procedures and technologies that improve your oral health and give you a stunning smile are developed frequently. To keep up–and use this technology effectively–cosmetic dentists need post-graduate training.
There’s nothing wrong with asking a dentist where they received their cosmetic training along with their credentials. Request samples of their work. If they don’t have a smile gallery, something’s wrong. Ideally, they should be AACD accredited, which ensures they’re in the top of the cosmetic field, but there are many great cosmetic dentist who are still in the accreditation process.
A listening ear
In general dentistry, you treat something objective—the health of the tooth. Cosmetic dentistry is more subjective. It’s about how you, the patient, feel about your smile. To create a smile your patient loves takes a listening ear.
What is it about their smile that makes them unhappy or embarrassed?
What is their ideal look?
When they say white teeth, do they mean nuclear white or something white but subtle.
And, a good cosmetic dentist needs to be willing to go back to the drawing board when they didn’t get it perfect.
An artistic eye
The last ingredient is the toughest because it can’t be taught.
A good cosmetic dentist has to be able to see how the shape of your teeth works with your facial shape. They need to understand color and techniques for mixing those colors to give you a translucent smile with the subtle shading of natural teeth, while matching it perfectly to your natural teeth or veneers.
Some of that can be taught, but as anyone who’s taken music lessons know, just knowing the theory doesn’t make you a composer. Two cosmetic dentists can do the same work on the same patient, know exactly what the patient wants, and end up with completely different results.
Before you get your smile makeover, make sure your cosmetic dentist has all the ingredients.
Dr. Mike Malone and his team practice expert cosmetic dentistry in Lafayette, LA. Dr. Malone is the former president and current accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also the official Cosmetic Dentist of the Miss Louisiana USA and Miss Louisiana Teen USA pageants.