It seems prevalent these days that most dentists are calling themselves cosmetic dentists, but there is no cosmetic specialty in dentistry. In fact, all dentistry is or should be cosmetic. I don’t know anyone who took the ‘ugly’ teeth class in dental school, because it wasn’t offered in the curriculum. Regardless, the fact remains that the vast majority of dentist are general dentist, nothing more, nothing less. They just decide to call themselves ‘cosmetic dentists’. They all have undergraduate degrees and at least four years of dental school with either a DDS or a DMD as the result. But not one of them has a ‘cosmetic specialty’ in dentistry. Those dentists who choose to make the claim do so by virtue of deciding to focus on cosmetics in their general practices. The American Dental Association (ADA) only has nine recognized post dental degree dental specialties and cosmetic dentistry is not one of them. These specialties range in one to six years of advance training beyond dental school. At the end of their post doctorate degree, these dentists receive additional certifications in their respective specialties, thus becoming experts within their field of dentistry. These ADA specialties are:
Dental Public Heath, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Surgery, Orthodontics, Endodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and the least known, Prosthodontics.
Prosthodontics: (crown, bridge, and implants) According the Forbes Magazine, a prosthodontist is the rarest specialty in the field of dentistry. A prosthodontist has a specialty license pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes. Most dentists they take short continuing education courses and utilize trial and error experience to be able to understand how size, shape, color and symmetry all work together to create what a prosthodontists is trained in their post graduate work. On the other hand, the prosthodontist is trained at a university to create the smile that implements the use of veneers, crowns, bridges and the increasingly common procedure of dental implants to ensure that the right smile is achieved, both functionally and aesthetically beautiful. If anyone has the right to claim a specialty in cosmetic dentistry, it would be the prosthodontist. So when you are seriously looking for a cosmetic dentist, look for a prosthodontist.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
Emory Trained Prosthodontist
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
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