Many dentists who perform cosmetic dentistry procedures list cosmetic dentistry as a “specialty.” Most of them are good at what they do. So, why would you need or want to go to a prosthodontist? |
Let’s start with the basics.
The American Dental Association (ADA) does not recognize cosmetic dentistry as a specialty. No amount of education, training, or experience will earn recognition as a specialist in cosmetic dentistry with the ADA.
Prosthodontics, on the other hand, is recognized by the ADA as a specialty. First, the dentist must first complete dental school and pass a series of exams to qualify them to practice as a dentist. Then, an additional three years’ training is required. This training includes a rigorous process of learning, studying, and mastering advanced procedures barely touched on in dental school. A prosthodontist receives extensive training in all aspects of dental and facial problems, including problems with jaw structure, missing or deficient teeth, and the overall maintenance, treatment, and appearance of oral health.
Specialties of prosthodontists include:
• Dental implants
• Tempromandibular disorders
• Correcting trauma to jaw or teeth
• Rehabilitation after surgery for oral cancer
• Cosmetic dentistry (veneers, bonding, whitening, etc.)
To be fair, there are many educational opportunities dentists can pursue to learn procedures considered cosmetic, and many of these dentists are excellent at what they do. Some of these procedures may include simple treatments, such as teeth whitening and dental bonding.
Prosthodontists, however, are highly trained in cosmetic dentistry and are uniquely qualified to restore your smile, including appearance and optimum function. While your general dentist may competently utilize bonding for a chipped or cracked tooth, a prosthodontist can do much more. They can use bonding to improve the appearance of your smile, such as reshaping teeth and closing gaps.
Let’s put this in perspective. If your primary care physician found you hypertensive, he would most likely prescribe a medication. If, however, you continued to have high blood pressure on that medication, he should send you to a cardiologist for evaluation and treatment.
When seeking care, it is vital to research the education and credentials of practitioners with your treatment needs in mind. Become informed. If you need extensive work, you should choose wisely. You want a doctor with the training and experience that will give you the best results while minimizing the risk of complications or problems that could cause severe problems in the future.
Other things you can do to assist in the decision process:
• Discuss it with your dentist
Ask about specialized training, previous patient outcomes, and how often they perform the procedure. Ask about the technology they use and sedation options.
• Look at the doctor’s professional associations
While association with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry does not mean the doctor specializes in cosmetic dentistry, it shows a level of seriousness in the field.
• Look at before and after pictures of actual patients
Most experienced providers have a gallery on their website or album in the office. Look specifically at cases similar to yours.
• Seek and read reviews
Is there someone you trust who had a similar procedure? You can also gain a lot of insight by reading online reviews.
• Consider financials
While insurance companies do not cover many cosmetic procedures, many treatments performed by a prosthodontist may be. Investigate cost, insurance, and payment options.
• Follow your heart
Are you confident with the dentist you chose? Do you agree with the treatment plan? Is the practice friendly, helpful, and clean? Do you feel cared for? Will your comfort and anxiety needs be met?
While many simple cosmetic procedures can be done safely by a trained general dentist, do not take your chances with complex issues or extensive treatments. Every procedure has risks, and they are significantly increased with an unqualified or untrained dentist.
In the Skokie, IL area, you can rest assured The Stein Center of Advanced Dentistry will meet all your needs and concerns.
Contact us online or call (847) 676-3500 today to set up your consultation appointment.
Our team would love the opportunity to boost your self-esteem and improve your life by giving you a beautiful, healthy, natural-looking smile.
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