Once thing I have noticed is that the meaning of words change with time. For instance, “prestige” is an interesting example. In the beginning the word literally meant “trick” and was always used in a bad sense when applied to someone.   If they were Prestigious, then it meant that person was “deceitful”.   With time, the connotation of the word has gone 180 degrees. So much so that it now means “having dazzling influence”.

What does this have to do with cosmetic dentist? In the beginning a cosmetic dentist was one who “used white or tooth colored filling materials” instead of the gray or black amalgam alloy or gold crowns. A cosmetic dentist in 1985 was distinguished by only that and there were very few of them.  As time passed, it began to include dentist who would whiten teeth (an innovative procedure in 1990). Then cosmetic veneers were developed to the point that they could dramatically change the looks of the front teeth. Today most dentist are routinely taught basic cosmetic dentistry in dental school.  It is part of their training. Therefore, in this sense of the word, every dentist is now a Cosmetic Dentist.  Just having that in the Yellow Pages does not really distinguish you from other general dentists.

“Well if every one is, then how do I pick between dentist when I want or need some cosmetic dentistry?” The dentist’s “Advanced Education” (beyond dental school)  is the key to making that choice. Here are a few things to look for:

1. They should have a web page and they should have pictures of their cosmetic work posted for you to evaluate (if they don’t, beware)
2. They should list the courses they have taken in “Advanced Cosmetic Procedures”. Dental school teaches the basics. BASICS!!!! It is up to you to see which dentist have taken ADVANCED courses in Cosmetic Dentistry. They are several dental institutes that are dedicated to teaching these courses like LVI (The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies). Have they graduated from one of the teaching institutes? This should also be on the doctors website.
3. They definitely take into consideration WHY you are wanting the cosmetic dentistry and IF you are a good candidate for it. NOT EVERYONE IS!!!! For instance, if your teeth are broken down or worn off and the bite which caused the problem is not corrected then you will certainly wear down or break veneers.  This is a neuromuscular dental problem.
4.  Great cosmetic results depend on having a Great Foundation. If gum problems or other decay is not addressed prior to having Veneers, porcelain crowns or other work done, then you are wasting your money.
5.   Finally, unless the dentists uses a really great dental laboratory then the results will be less than stellar.  In the past, I have had several different laboratories do the same cosmetic case to really see which Lab is the best.  It becomes very obvious when you set these cases side-by-side and see the difference a Lab can make.

I also need to say that if the price is “too good to be true” then it is. I have people come to all the time who got bargain veneers or no-prep veneers and hate the looks. They are paying twice for something that should have been done once. The old adage holds true. You get what you pay for This month alone, I have had to redo 20 cosmetic crowns and veneers that other “so called” Cosmetic dentists have done.  You should not have to pay for something TWICE so chose carefully, get second opinions and beware bargains in Cosmetic Dentistry and Heart Surgery!

Dr Lowrance

Corpus Christi, Texas 78411