What does Cosmetic Dentist mean and is every dentist a cosmetic dentist?
The term cosmetic dentist is widely used but what does it mean? Cosmetic is generally taken to mean improving appearance for appearance’s sake. Many dentists prefer to use the term aesthetic dentist which has taken the meaning of ‘looking natural’ or within the bounds of nature. Cosmetic dentistry took a bit of a bad rap about five to ten years ago when the trend from the States was to have ultra-white, unnatural smiles. The so-called ‘Hollywood’ smile. The trend in the UK and Europe especially has been more towards mimicking nature and providing healthy looking but beautiful smiles.
In my mind, dentistry and the high levels of tooth decay in the UK has often left people with a far from healthy looking let alone cosmetic or aesthetic smile. Many of our patients come to us asking for all their teeth to look ‘uniform’ as they can have so many different colours and combination of materials that chaos rather than harmony is the result. This is not natural either.
A cosmetic dentist can analyse the full smile, and indeed the full mouth. This is not looking at appearance for appearance’s sake. But rather looking at health and function but with a mind to the final result and how it will look. Smile design is a discipline and a template which a skilled cosmetic dentist will understand and build into their diagnosis of your smile. A cosmetic dentist will use good quality materials that reduce staining, will finish a crown to avoid visible edges, and build the best, natural looking result into all the treatment they offer.
Organisations like the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry offer an accreditation pathway for dentists to demonstrate their high knowledge and skills. This is judged by fellow dentists and the standard requires considerable education in cosmetic dentistry. Not every dentist chooses to invest in their education to the same level, or may have another interest entirely. A good cosmetic dentist will have a library of before and after treatments of their own to demonstrate their skills.
Last updated May 2nd, 2018