Deciding on getting a cosmetic dental procedure done requires a lot of thought. The vast majority of dental insurance plans will not cover procedures meaning you'll be the one to foot the bill. Many procedures last many years, if they're not permanent. Some procedures may require you to alter your eating and drinking habits.

There is a lot at stake when electing to go above and beyond preventive and restorative dental care. Because of this, it is encouraged that patients do research about the various procedures out there and be fairly sure of the one they think will best achieve their desired results.

Patients are also highly recommended to talk to their primary or cosmetic dentist about what they want to achieve with their smiles, their budget and other preferences so the dentist can give an assessment of your cosmetic dental treatment options and help you determine which one would give you the best results.

Many dentists have many years of experience as well as specialized training and certification. He or she will be able to determine which dental procedure will best meet your smile goals, budget and time limitations.

Patients who go into their dentist's office without and questions, whether a result of “knowing it all” or being okay with only the dentist says in the course of the appointment, will lose out on potentially important information about their procedure.

Why spend a significant amount of money on a cosmetic dental procedure without first picking the brain of a cosmetic dental professional?

What is a Cosmetic Dentist?

As mentioned earlier, a cosmetic dentist is one with specialized knowledge and experience in cosmetic dental procedures.

Cosmetic dentists and those who practice general dentistry are not the same because both get the same dental school education and either the DDS or DMD degree. Both general and cosmetic dentists can perform basic preventive and restorative dental procedures.

Cosmetic dentists, however, further their education by taking additional classes in cosmetic dentistry.

Cosmetic dentistry focuses primarily on enhancing the appearance, or aesthetics of a patient's smile. General dentistry, on the other hand, focuses more on tooth and gum disease prevention and restoration.

Common procedures include: dental crowns, inlays, onlays, veneers, bridges, tooth bonding and contouring, implants and teeth whitening, or bleaching.

If you currently do not have a cosmetic dentist, ask your primary dentist for recommendations.

What Questions to Ask

The questions to ask your cosmetic dentist depends on the needs and preferences of the individual patient and their specific procedure.

There are some generic questions that should be asked if the dentist does not discuss them which include:

· How many procedures have you done and what has been the results?

· Is this procedure the best option for what I want to achieve with my smile?

· What is the process of the procedure?

· How should I prepare for the procedure?

· What can I expect before, during and after the procedure?

· What will the procedure do for my smile?

· What is the recovery time?

· When will I need to come in to have the work redone?

· How do I care for my teeth after the treatment?

· What happens if something goes wrong or does not fit?

Only a cosmetic dentist will know the ins and outs of cosmetic and dental procedures. Therefore, it is beneficial for the patient considering a cosmetic dental procedure to ask questions and talk with their cosmetic dentist to learn what procedure will give them the most favorable results.