What to Expect from a Cosmetic Dentistry Consultation
The first step to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams is the cosmetic dentistry consultation. This dentist’s visit is quite different from your everyday dental exam. Instead, your dentist will start a discussion with you concerning your smile goals. Because a good dentist will explain procedure options and provide a realistic idea of results that can be achieved, a successful cosmetic dentistry consultation can be the beginning of a beautiful smile.
Prior to the Cosmetic Dentistry Consultation
Before you go to your cosmetic dentistry consultation, it’s a good idea to understand some of your smile goals. This can be anything from achieving a whiter smile to fixing a discolored area of a tooth to completely re-vamping your smile with veneers. Just like going to your hairstylist’s for a new 'do, it’s never a bad idea to find photos of smiles you wish to mirror your results. This can give your dentist both a visual and auditory example of your desired results.
Consultation Goal = Communication
Communication and coming to a mutual understanding are the goals of any good cosmetic dentistry consultation. When first meeting your cosmetic dentist, you can expect him to introduce himself and explain his credentials and experience that qualify him as a trusted cosmetic dentist. He will then likely ask you some open-ended questions about what brought you to his office and what types of procedures you are considering. If you’re not sure exactly how you want to achieve your smile goals, that’s okay. Just give your dentist an idea of what you are hoping your smile looks like when you get there.
“It’s really important to have a good relationship with your dentist,” says W. Frank Johnson, DDS, a dentist with a private practice in Hixson, Tenn. “If you don’t feel comfortable asking your dentist questions, it’s time to start looking for a new one.”
The examination portion of a cosmetic dentistry consultation is vital to making treatment recommendations. Your dentist will likely examine your teeth for overall health and shape. Evaluating your gums and gum line also is an important aspect of your dental procedure. Cosmetic dentists specialize in evaluating your smile in its entirety and how treatments can improve your overall appearance.
Establishing a Treatment Plan
When you hire a contractor to perform construction work on your home, a time and cost estimate often is provided to help you best understand what to expect before a single nail is hammered. You should expect the same treatment at your cosmetic dentistry consultation. Your cosmetic dentist should outline recommended treatment procedures, the time frame for completing them, what additional parties (if any) may be part of your treatment team and an estimate of the procedural costs surrounding your treatment.
Because your treatment plan is the part of the process where your dentist is honest with you, this is the time when you must be honest with your dentist. If you have neither the desire nor funds to engage in a year-long treatment plan or are unsure you need a recommended procedure, it’s important to tell your dentist. Cosmetic dentists rely on satisfied patients and exceptional results to build a customer base. Your cosmetic dentist should strive to answer your questions during the consultation portion. Some example questions you may ask include:
- What are the pros and cons of this particular procedure? Are there other alternative treatments that may be effective?
- Are there complications or health risks associated with these procedures?
- Will these procedures be painful? Is anesthesia involved?
- What will happen if an emergency occurs during the dental procedure?
Creating a “Before” Image
One of the ways you can determine cosmetic dentistry’s success is by evaluating every step of the process from start to finish. One of the best ways a dentist can provide this is by taking one or more “before” images of your smile prior to beginning any cosmetic dentistry procedures. Your dentist also may show you photos of patients who have undergone similar procedures to give you both an idea of your dentist’s artistry in achieving a more beautiful smile and to help you know what you can expect. Remember, a dental consultation should leave you feeling as if your dentist has been communicating with you, not selling you on a particular procedure or product.