Cosmetic dentists by definition provide a number of procedures to improve the appearance of your teeth, though it may provide other benefits as well. For example, it may strengthen damaged teeth as well as restore their natural appearance. However, that doesn’t mean you should go with the first cosmetic dentist you find or blindly follow their recommendations. Here are eight questions you should ask when picking a cosmetic dentist.
8Why This Procedure?
When a cosmetic dentist recommends a procedure, ask why that is the one they recommend. There may be cheaper or less time-consuming alternatives. In fact, there is almost always more than one possible solution. Ask about the pros and cons of each. If nothing else, you’ll be sure that this is right for you. They may be recommending a procedure because it is what they prefer in general or what they’re trained to do.
If you want a specific procedure done, you may have to go somewhere else like a full-service cosmetic dentistry practice. For example, clinics like Perfect Smile Spa can perform everything from teeth whitening to dental implants. These would be a better option as you won’t have to jump from dentist to dentist and they’ll know your teeth better than anyone else.
7How Many Times Have You Performed Said Procedure?
It’s important that you not only enquire about the dentist’s general experience but also what type of procedure they’re going to perform. Cosmetic dentistry is very innovative and new products are introduced all the time, so dentists might not always be familiar with the most recent procedures. By asking, you’ll be able to make a better decision, and maybe reconsider the choice of procedure.
6Can I See Some of Your Work?
Good cosmetic dentists are proud of their work and will make it easy for you to see the results of the procedures. Most will have pictures from recent patients, some even display them in the lobby. These are really the only way to get a sense of what the end result will be.
5How Long Will It Last? And What Should I Expect?
Implants and veneers should be permanent. However, dental whitening may only last for a short period of time. Ask how long the benefits of the procedure will last. And ask to see before and after procedures, so that you know what to expect the end result to be. Learn now what happens if you’re not happy with the results.
4How Should I Prepare?
Some cosmetic procedures require little or no preparation on your part. For example, if you’re going to have veneers applied, you probably don’t have to do anything other than brushing your teeth. However, the preparations increase along with the invasiveness of the procedure. If the procedure requires sedation, you probably can’t eat or drink for several hours beforehand, and you should arrange for someone else to take you home. Nor can you take any medication that causes drowsiness for at least 12 hours before the procedure.
If you’re going to have implants or another dental surgery done, discuss any existing health conditions and medication. For example, you may be advised to stop taking prescription blood thinners and aspirin for several days before the procedure.
3What After-Care Is Required?
There is a fair chance you’ll face restrictions after the procedure is done, and you want to know these in advance. You may be given a list of recommended food and drink after you’ve recovered from surgery or sedation. You’ll want to stock up on these in advance and have enough to get you through the recovery period. Know whether you need to stay away from hot and cold beverages; in these cases, even a glass of water needs to be room temperature.
You should also ask about what happens once the sedation or painkillers wear off. Ask what type of pain relief you can and should take afterward. Also, inquire about the expected pain and inflammation.
How much swelling and pain is normal? And when should you call the dentist for a follow-up? Note that if the prescribed painkiller isn’t good enough, call the dental office for advice. And make sure you know who to call for after-hours advice. Ask about potential side effects so that you know when it is normal and when something is wrong.
Depending on the type of procedure, you may be advised to avoid certain activities. You might be told to avoid eating hard foods or playing sports that could result in being hit in the mouth. And you may be advised to schedule follow-up appointments.
2What Happens if I’m Not Happy with the Procedure?
A doctor can never guarantee 100% that you’ll be happy with the final results. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t do anything about it. The doctor will also be able to explain some of the limitations of the procedure and reassure you. Experienced dentists will also be able to anticipate from where your disappointment could come from and have a contingency plan in case that happens.
1What’s the Cost and How Will I Pay for It?
You may be paying for cosmetic dentistry out of pocket or the NHS may cover it. Things like teeth whitening, for instance, or veneers are not covered. Most implants aren’t covered either, so make sure you’re aware of that. Know in advance how much you may need to pay. And determine in advance if you’ll have to take out a loan to pay for things.
Also, take into consideration the possible impact of missing work for the procedure or taking sick days while you’re recovering. This will allow you to prepare financially, and not risk aggravating your condition.
Cosmetic dentistry is in great demand because more than a fourth of us say someone’s smile is the first thing we notice. However, if you want to be satisfied with the results, make sure that you do your due diligence and work with someone you’ll feel comfortable with.