There’s No Such Thing as a Cosmetic Dentist

May 21, 2014, by Dr. Becky Coats

It’s a secret that doesn’t get advertised very much because many people don’t want you to know: there is no such thing as a cosmetic dentist.

Dentists adopt this label for many reasons. Some use it simply for marketing, while others use it to express a true dedication to dentistry that is more than merely competent, dentistry that is beautiful, healthy, natural-looking, and attractive.

When choosing a cosmetic dentist, you have to take care and choose a dentist who is dedicated to their art and to their patients.

Dental Training, Licenses, and Specialties

In basic dental training, before they can be licensed, dentists go through accredited dental degree programs that give them all the skills they need to practice general dentistry procedures, including basic procedures such as checkups, basic reconstructive dentistry, and basic periodontics. In order to be licensed, they then have to pass exams set up by the state dental board to determine that they can successfully perform these tasks. In other words, “dentist” guarantees a certain level of skill and training.

For certain dental branches, the American Dental Association recognizes specialties. In order to qualify as a specialist, such as a periodontist, dentists need to undergo additional training in terms of more years of education and training, as well as a specialist exam. Again, a specialist title like “periodontist” guarantees a certain level of expertise. Perhaps the closest specialty is a prosthodontist, whose training focuses on procedures to restore and replace teeth.

But “cosmetic dentist” isn’t one of these recognized specialties. There is no special training required, and there’s no guarantee of any level of expertise.

How to Identify a True Cosmetic Dentist

Grapevine cosmetic dentist, Dr. Becky Coats

Our Cosmetic dentist, Dr. Becky Coats

This doesn’t mean that some cosmetic dentists aren’t actually highly trained dentists dedicated to performing excellent cosmetic dentistry. In fact, many cosmetic dentists work as hard and as long at their craft as people who are trying to meet the rigorous standards of a dental specialty.

But you have to look a little harder to identify which dentists these are. You have to check out a potential cosmetic dentist‘s education and see whether they have been recognized as exceptional general dentists–then check whether they have additional training focused on cosmetic dentistry. Look for names like LVI–the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dentistry–and other institutions that focus on training for cosmetic dentistry.

But, above all, look for their photo gallery. You will know a true cosmetic dentist by the results they achieve. If you like what you see there, you will know that they are capable of giving you the cosmetic dentistry you desire.