Communicating with Your Dentist: Considerations before Getting Porcelain Veneers, Crowns, Dental Implants, and other Cosmetic Dental Treatments

You’re looking for more than just ethical skills. You’re looking for the right kind of relationship. It would be nice if every dentist could see into your mind and become the dentist you want them to be, but every practitioner is different. Each one brings a certain personality and style to the way they work.

What is the first step in consideration?

The first step, then, is to look inside yourself for the way you make decisions and work with professionals. For example, consider the issue of control. Imagine that you’re buying a formal suit or dress. There are three different basic approaches you may take. You may:

  • Look for someone to make the decision for you. (“I have such-and-such an event to go to. What should I wear?”)
  • Insist on making all of your own decisions. (“Show me what you’ve got. I’ll decide what I want.”)
  • Operate somewhere between these two extremes. (“Teach me what I need to know, and I’ll make an educated decision.”)

Communication is paramount. Some dentists are good at saying, “I know what’s right for you” and then delivering on it. But if the results are not what you wanted, you may have a problem.

Likewise, other dentists may tell you, “You’d better tell me what you want, because in the end it’s your mouth.” However, you’re not a dentist. No matter how much research you’ve done, you’re probably not in a position to know all the issues and technicalities.

It’s in your best interest to be as clear and forthcoming as possible about your expectations. It’s in your dentist’s best interest, meanwhile, to understand the limitations of your knowledge and guide you when necessary. The bottom line is, if you don’t end up with the smile you were hoping for, neither of you is going to be happy.

Your best bet is to find a dentist for the aesthetic work easily. The best choice of a dentist for the aesthetic work you desire is one who can take your subjective observations and concerns and explain them to you in objective, scientific terms, as outlines in this book, and then deliver on these insights through skilled treatment.

Edward S. Philips, D.D.S.

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