In the clinic the other day, I happened to read this incredible book by Dr. Ronald Goldstein – ” Change Your Smile ” Such a beauty, this book! Concise, detailed knowlege on all cosmetic procedures imparted through simple use of language. This book is a must-read for not only patients but all those in the dental field.Most of us have thought about improving our smile, but dont know where to start! Here are some tips on choosing the right Cosmetic Dentist.THE FAMILY DENTIST:Your own dentist may be the best person to see for your cosmetic dental treatment. If your happy with the preventive treatment your general dentist has provided, ask about his or her experience and qualifications in the area of cosmetic dentistry.LOCATION:For the sake of convenience, most people choose to visit a neighborhood dentist for their routine dental treatment. When seeking a cosmetic dentist, however, don’t let location alone be a deciding factor. Do some research to find the very best- you’ll be glad you did!HOW TO SELECT A GOOD COSMETIC DENTIST:Contact professionals in appearance related fields. These include plastic surgeons, cosmetologists, hair stylists, and modeling or theatrical agencies.Contact local dental specialists. These include orthodontists, oral surgeons, endodontists, prosthodontists, periodontists, and dental technitians. These specislists, who are familiar with the dentists in their communities, often can provide recommendations.Contact the Indian Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (IACD)or other similar national academies for cosmetic dentists in your area.Ask friends and business associates.Use the internet to research specific areas your interested in, but use caution (most internet sites are not governed or overseen by state board)Do your Homework! Don’t rely on advertisements and magazines.HOW TO EVALUATE A COSMETIC DENTIST:Once you have several referrals, evaluate each dentists website. Compare credentials, treatment photos, educational background, and any professional teaching positions. Beware of Hype!Ask for a consultation. Expect to pay a fee for the dentist’s time, as well as for any x-rays, computer imaging, intra-oral exams, models, photographs and other records.Outline your expectations in a wish-list before your first meeting with the dentist.Bring photographs of yourself showing what u used to look like (if you want to have your teeth restored to a previous condition) or pictures of others who have the look you want to achieve.Ask to see photographs of patients the dentist has treated with similar conditions.Don’t shop for bargains. Instead, look for a dentist who will spend the time it takes to give you what you want. Otherwise, you may end up spending twice the money and time fixing mistakes.Get a wax-up. In this procedure, your dentist applies a special wax either to a cast made from your teeth or directly to your mouth to give you an idea how the final result may look.Consider a trial smile, Removable “snap in” teeth made of acrylic or composite resin allow you to actually ‘wear your new smile before any treatment is done.Ask if the dentist is able to obtain digital images of various treatment alternatives using computer imaging.Be aware of your problems and their potential treatment alternatives before seeing the dentist by performing the smile analysis.Arrive at your appointment early. You will need time to complete your forms and communicate your desires unhurriedly and in a relaxed atmosphere.Bring any x rays or study models you have made.Be upfront about budget restrictions. Also, bring your dental insurance information to the appointment. Although typically insurance does not pay for cosmetic treatment, the restorative portions of the treatment, such as crowns and bridges, may be at least partially covered.Be willing to invest in second or third opinion.WHAT ABOUT THE FEES?Time and expense are two factors that you must consider when seeking cosmetic dental treatment. Although it may be tempting to opt for shortcuts and bargains, remember the old saying-‘ you get what you pay for’The best esthetic dentistry requires a highly personalized artistic approach and thus typically is neither offered at discount prices nor covered by insurance.WHEN ASSESSING FEES FOR COSMETIC DENTISTRY:Take into account Dentist’s artistic skill and experience.Ask to see photos of patients who have undergone treatment similar to what your considering.Find how much time the dentist is willing to spend on your treatment. Make sure the fee reflects an adequate amount of time to satisfy your needs.Keep in mind that cosmetic dentistry is a team effort. The skill of the dentists support staff- available dental specialists, the dental hygienist, the dental assistant, and especially the laboratory technician who fabricates your restorations- is critical.Don’t base your decision solely on price. Instead, match your need for a believably natural result with what your willing to pay.Make sure you aren’t rushed during your consultation- see the fees as a long term investment. The most important goal of any consultation is to have the entire dental team thoroughly understand your vision of the esthetic result you seek.QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR COSMETIC DENTIST:What are my cosmetic options?What compromises may I have to accept?What will the final result look like?Can I see before and after photographs of patients you’ve treated with similar problems?How long will my restorations last?How well will the restorations stand up to wear?What type of maintenance is required?How closely will the restorations match my natural teeth?Will I have to change my eating habits?What guarantees or warrantees do I have?What are my payment options?TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS:Trust is a major factor in choosing a cosmetic dentist. Your esthetic restorations may initially appear beautiful, and your expectations may be met esthetically, but will their beauty stand the test of time? Were they designed to fit precisely and thereby not irritate the soft tissue? Because its almost impossible for you, as the patient, to make these determinations, it is essential to find a dentist who has the training, experience, and willingness to dedicate the time needed to get exceptional , long lasting results. In short, the dentist must earn your trust.