Finding the Right Dentist
Analyze the dentist’s portfolio of cases carefully. Make sure that the photo’s you’re being shown are of cases the dentist has actually performed. Sometimes the photos in a dentist’s office are of people who haven’t had any cosmetic dental work – they simply have great smiles.
Ask questions based on the treatment plan being proposed to you. Quantity and quality of experience are both important. It’s quite all right to say: “I’d like to see other cases that are somewhat similar. How many other cases like mine have you worked on?” Determine whether you’re pleased with that you see of the results.
Check references and ask for permission to actually speak to some of the dentist’s other patients. Don’t forget to look the dentist up on the internet. What’s their educational background? Ask them for their resume if you haven’t been shown one.
What are the dentist’s facilities like? Does the clinic seem clean, inviting, comfortable, professional? Does the technical equipment have duct tape holding parts of it together? (It happens.) All of these details will give you clues to the dentist’s qualifications.
Does the dentist have a special interest in the kind of work you need or want? Is the practice clearly geared toward this work?
Remember, the dentist is trained to deliver clinical excellence, knowledge, and quality. But these procedures require a strong support team to help make the experience a success. Dentists are generally not able to provide the emotional support necessary on their own. Make sure you have properly assessed the dental team as well as the dentist.
Here’s an inside tip: Talk to members of the dentist’s support team. If they are familiar with and knowledgeable about the procedure you are contemplating, you can feel confident about the dentist’s skill and experience.
If you are considering improving your smile, it’s possible that you’ll want to consider talking not just to a cosmetic dentist, but also to a plastic surgeon. Depending on your situation, you may need one or the other or you may need both. It makes sense to communicate to everyone on the team. It’s similar to renovating a home. You wouldn’t undertake serious work without a master plan. The wall paint depends on the plaster work, which must wait for the electrician – who probably needs to synchronize their efforts with the plumbers, so on.
The critical point is that both the dentist and the plastic surgeon must the other’s work into account when planning your treatment program. It’s very important that every member of the team has the same information at the same time.
Why is this important? Well, here’s one example. Let’s say you asked your dentist to move your teeth back. This could dramatically change the appearance of your nose – it may now look rather prominent. This kind of problem can be avoided simply by making sure the dentist and plastic surgeon are working on the same page – or, rather, on the same face.
Edward S. Philips, D.D.S.