how to find the best cosmetic dentist

How to Find the Best Cosmetic Dentist

Posted by: Dr Monica Amin

With more and more people looking to have a range of cosmetic treatments, including dentistry, it’s becoming increasingly important to know how to find a top rated cosmetic dentist near you. This blog post will go through cosmetic dental procedures, what your options could be and then how to find the best cosmetic dentist near you.

What is cosmetic dentistry

In our opinion, or dentistry should be cosmetic, after all, who wants ugly dentistry? However, classically the definition of cosmetic dentistry is “any treatment designed to improve the appearance  of your teeth and smile“.

This typically involves 4 specific treatment areas:

  1. Straightening crooked teeth.
  2. Rebuilding broken down teeth.
  3. Whitening dark teeth.
  4. Replacing missing teeth.

Cosmetic dentistry procedures

Within the 4 treatment areas of cosmetic dentistry there are a variety of options available.

1. Straightening crooked teeth.

The most common way to do this is to use orthodontics, such as Invisalign. Orthodontics is the most minimally invasive way to straighten teeth as it maintains all of your natural tooth structure. This then means your new straight teeth are easier to clean and look better. Typical treatments last anywhere between 6 and 12 months.

It’s also possible to use restorative dentistry by way of cosmetic bonding, dental veneers or dental crowns to straighten crooked teeth. Patients sometimes opt for these treatments as they are much quicker than orthodontics. Cosmetic bonding can usually be undertaken in a single visit making it the quickest option, veneers crowns will often take 2 or 3 visits to the dentist with an overall treatment time of about 3 weeks.

2. Rebuilding broken down teeth.

Minor imperfections on front teeth can be corrected using cosmetic bonding, this usually requires no reduction of the tooth enamel. Medium corrections on front teeth can usually be undertaken with a porcelain veneer which often require a small amount of reduction of the natural tooth, and more major rebuilding of broken down teeth would usually be undertaken with dental crowns, these require the most reduction of natural tooth.

Wherever possible your cosmetic dentist will try to maintain as much natural tooth structure as possible in order to preserve your smile.

3. Whitening dark teeth.

If you have all of your natural teeth (with no restorations such as bonding, veneers or crowns) then teeth whitening is often used. This usually comes in 2 varieties.

  1. Whitening at home. Treatments usually take a couple of weeks to achieve the desired result.
  2. Whitening at the dentist. A treatment of approximately 1 hour followed by a short course of home whitening should achieve the desired results.

If you have restorations such as bonding, veneers or crowns them these will not whiten using the hydrogen peroxide gel in teeth whitening, the restorations will need to be remade. The procedure is usually to whiten the surrounding teeth and then they make the restoration to match this lighter colour.

If teeth are severely dark and unable to be whitened to the desired shade using teeth whitening then bonding, veneers or crowns can be used to cover up the dark tooth.

4. Replacing missing teeth.

The final part of cosmetic dentistry is replacing missing teeth. This is done in one of 3 ways:

  1. Dental bridges – dental bridges bridge the gap by suspending a new tooth from the teeth either side. They require reduction of the teeth either side of the gap meaning that sometimes healthy tooth structure is lost.
  2. Dentures – removable dentures can be made to look extremely cosmetic and be very comfortable to wear. Some people however, dislike the idea of having to wear removable appliance.
  3. Implants – these are usually the preferred option. A support surrounding teeth and stop them drifting into the gap, as well as supporting the bone around the tooth has been lost. Whilst implants might be more expensive in the short-term, they usually work out most cost-effective in the long-term.

Affordable cosmetic dentistry options

The most affordable cosmetic dentistry option will either be teeth whitening and/or cosmetic dental bonding. Not only are they the most affordable options but they also are the most conservative and maintain as much healthy tooth structure as possible.

Teeth whitening usually begins at around £199 for both the top and bottom teeth.

Cosmetic bonding usually begins at approximately £125 per tooth, depending on the amount of restoration that is required.

How to Find a Top Rated Cosmetic Dentist

Top 10 tips

Here is our simple guide to finding the best dentist in your area:

  1. Ask your friends and family – if they live locally to you then these will be the best people to ask, going on personal recommendation for any service, including dentistry is usually the best way forward.
  2. Do a Google search – if you don’t know anyone locally to ask then just do a Google search for < cosmetic dentist> < Your area>. We don’t recommend you follow our next tips to further your investigations. Once you have found a potential dentist on Google then look at their smile Gallery to check out before and after photographs.
  3. Cross-reference on Facebook – once you have found a dentist by doing an Internet search, take a look at their Facebook page. Are they engaging with the local community? Are they handing out useful dental advice? Whilst this is not the only sign of a good dentist, it lets you know that they care about their patients and want to help, even after treatment has stopped.
  4. Have a very clear idea about what ‘top rated’ means to you – so now we are moving closer to contacting a dentist of your choosing, so the question now is what does top rated mean to you? Are you looking for someone that offers the cheapest services? Do you want someone that offers the most comprehensive range of treatments? Are you looking for the friendliest dentist? Be very clear about the criteria that is most important to you.
  5. Phone and have a quick chat – now that you’ve done some research and are clear about what you want, phone the practice and have a quick chat. Ask relevant questions about your criteria.
  6. Check the process – if you’re having cosmetic dentistry is useful to be aware of what the process is, are you expected to pay 4 initial consultation? Or is it free? What happens at this initial consultation? Are you able to have your cosmetic dentistry with this dentist and still go to see another dentist afterwards for routine dentistry?
  7. Cross-reference the dentist on the GDC register – the General Dental Council (GDC) other regulatory body for dentists in the UK, once you have found your best rated cosmetic dentist then undertake a register search to make sure they are licensed to practice in the UK. It is also important to note at this point that the GDC only regulate UK-based dentists, not any dentist overseas!
  8. Be honest – would you go to visit the dentist you have chosen, be honest with them. Let them know what your concerns are and what outcomes you are looking for.
  9. Be open – this is probably one of the most important aspects, the open to listening to the advice  of your chosen cosmetic dentist. Make sure you are discovering together the options are suited to you and listen to what your dentist has to say. A good dentist will always have you at the centre of every treatment!
  10. Use “the daughter test” – this is our final piece of advice, whenever a new cosmetic dentist offers you a treatment ask them, “Would you undertake this treatment on your daughter or son?”.

Other useful resources

You may also want to check out the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, both of these organisations have a range of advice sections on their website helping you find a dentist locally to you.

Dr Monica Amin
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