Do I really need to see a cosmetic dentist?

I’ve been talking to my dentist about this, but could use another opinion. I guess I need to know if I really need to see an accredited cosmetic dentist for the work I need done, or if I can use the recommendation of my general dentist and see a dentist she says does good cosmetic work.

Though my teeth are generally in excellent condition, I had an accident a couple weeks ago and fractured one of my front teeth on the vertical axis, and have a horizontal crack in the tooth immediately adjacent. The front tooth required a root canal treatment, because the root died. The other tooth has dental bonding on it that was placed by an emergency dentist right after the accident, but the color is just completely wrong. The dentist thinks I will need six to eight veneers to make the repair look natural, which is quite an investment.

My regular dentist says she would prefer to refer me for cosmetic work on my front teeth, and recommends a dentist who she says does nice work. The thing is, I’ve been researching this on the web quite a bit, and it sounds like I should talk to an accredited cosmetic dentist. I checked the recommended dentist’s website, and it does not say anything about him being accredited, or about any kind of special training. He does not have a smile gallery, so I can’t even go and look at pictures of his work.

Should I just go with this dentist? It is hard to believe that my dentist would recommend this dentist unless he was really good, but I am concerned about his lack of credentials.

Thanks for your help,

Ashley in Colorado Springs

Dear Ashley,

I would strongly recommend going to an experienced, educated cosmetic dentist for advice before investing thousands of dollars in your new smile. The dentist your dentist recommends is probably a superior dentist, but if he is not trained in cosmetic dentistry, he may not have the aesthetic sense or artistic talent to do the kind of work you want.

Nearly all dentists are by nature technicians, trained to fix things that are broken, and to heal your teeth when there is an issue. Many dentists are really only concerned with how things function, and not so worried about how they look. A cosmetic dentist will consider both form and function, and will make sure the repair is beautiful.

How many porcelain veneers you need will be something to discuss with the cosmetic dentist. If the dentist you work with is talented at dental bonding, you may only need two porcelain veneers, for your front teeth, while the other tooth could be repaired with dental bonding that is properly matched to your tooth.

This blog brought to you as a courtesy by Seattle cosmetic dentist Dr. Brian McKay.

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