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To the many people whose smile doesn’t embarrass them, cosmetic dentistry is barely an after-thought. Outside of the occasional teeth whitening, it’s nothing needed. But for some, a smile is cause for embarrassment; a hand across the mouth covers up laughter. There is a constant need to hide. For those people cosmetic dentistry can be life altering.

There are many forms of cosmetic dentistry, anything from a simple teeth whitening to fixing an overbite. Of course, when there is such a wide array of things that can get done, there will be a lot of questions. To help put your mind at ease, here are the “Who”, “What” and “Why” questions you should ask before deciding on a procedure.

Let’s start with…


This is an important question as cosmetic dentistry is not an officially recognized specialty within dentistry. So looking for a doctor that has an accreditation from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry is a good start. To get an accreditation a dentist must complete a written examination, document five specific types of clinical cases, participate in continuing education classes, and pass a final oral examination.

What to Ask?

Once you find an accredited dentist, the AACD recommends that you ask for the following items before undergoing treatment:

Before and after photos. These photos will allow you to examine the results of other patients being treated by the dentist to make sure his or her work fits your dental needs.

References. References allow you to get a sense of the quality of care the dentist provides.

Proof of continuing education. Be certain that your dentist has taken continuing education courses to keep him or her up-to-date with the latest techniques in clinical cosmetic dentistry.

Once you find the perfect dentist, learn about the benefits and risks, and what you can expect during the process. Make sure you’re clear about:

      What it will cost?

      How much experience your dentist has with the procedure?

      If there is any special maintenance needed afterwards?

 Answering these questions will lead to, probably the most important one:

Why Am I Doing This?

Ask yourself:

        How will these treatments benefit me? 

        Do the costs outweigh the benefits?

These are important questions to ask when you are deciding on what could be, pricey fixes. Your dentist will be able to help you decide if a treatment will really enhance your quality of life or if it will just add a huge bill to the pile.

Your smile is your calling card on the world. A confident one will imprint itself on the people around you. If you have decided to learn more about enhancing your smile, having these questions answered to your satisfaction will help you to build trust in your doctor and help you relax with your decision. Soon you’ll be brightening the world with your new smile!