Price or credentials? If faced with a choice, many consumers would undoubtedly weigh up the decision of cosmetic dentist based on price, bound as they often are by budget or expendable income. Cosmetic enhancement of any nature is by no means cheap, however, that best price mentality could set you up for a myriad of subsequent bills should anything untoward occur. Are you really ready to play roulette with your health?
Prior to scouring the internet for your nearest cosmetic specialist, it benefits greatly to put some forethought into the work you’d like done. In-office whitening alone can be achieved via a plethora of non-invasive treatments, such as oxidized bleaching, laser treatment and laminate ceramic veneers. Of course, not all candidates are suited to certain treatments; therefore it is wise to evaluate the condition of your teeth before finalising a decision. This is usually done with the aid of a specialist, whom will most likely draw up a personalised treatment plan prior to commencing any cosmetic procedures. Additional considerations must be taken should you suffer from heart related illness, diabetes and allergies, or are currently prescribed certain long-term medications, since these pose risks during the administration of and recovery from anaesthetic. Consult your clinician if in doubt.
Selecting the right cosmetic dentist should be foremost of your concerns, particularly since you are entrusting one of the most visible areas of your anatomy to his/her care. Minor errors, such as an off-shade veneer or discoloured bonding have an unprecedented impact upon a ‘finished’ smile, leading to increased expense for correction, undue stress and in some cases, depression.
So what exactly must one look for to determine the quality or calibre of a cosmetic dentist? A significant percentage of practicing cosmetic specialists are members of the BACD (British Academy of Cosmetic Dentists), or AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) usually portraying their membership on a website, or within the lobby/office of the clinic. While it does not regulate, nor provide specific guidelines for good practice to the cosmetic dentistry industry, BDHF (British Dental Health Foundation) does offer a fully manned helpline, from which it’s possible to glean details of ‘best practice’ cosmetic dentists near your area. Another mark of quality is membership of the BDA (British Dental Association) signifying a specialist is also an accredited dental practitioner. Ultimately, referrals seem to be the main source of new business for cosmetic dentistry practitioners, so it may well be worth talking to relatives, friends and colleagues for one that comes ‘recommended’.
Tracking down a suitable cosmetic dentist (at a price you can afford) is no mean feat, and it usually necessitates visiting several to scale down the options. It’s easy to become excited and blinkered following confirmation of your suitability for certain treatment, however final judgement should be reserved for post-meeting evaluation. Consider whether:
- the clinician was happy to answer questions, without deflecting them or deviating from their intent.
- you were comfortable and assured by explanations and suggestions provided.
- medical concerns and pre-existing medical conditions were taken into account.
- you felt you could trust him/her.
- adequate, step-by-step explanations of treatments available to you were addressed, along with any associated risks.
- a treatment plan was offered.
Finally, and to allay your initial concerns regarding price, you may wish to consider enquiring about a repayment plan. Payment by instalment, or ‘buy now, pay later’ has grown significantly in popularity since Harley Street practices introduced this option in the late 90′s. Similar in nature to a hire purchase agreement, your practitioner will require an initial deposit, followed by your commitment to payment of a monthly amount by signing of a credit agreement. In theory, there should be no other additions to the cost of treatment, other than those originally quoted; therefore it’s vital you’re aware of the inclusions prior to signing.