More and more dentists are calling themselves ‘cosmetic dentists’ when there is no cosmetic specialty in dentistry. Regardless of this claim, the fact remains that the majority of dentist are general dentist who press the envelope of ethics by calling themselves ‘cosmetic dentists’. They all have undergraduate degrees and at least four years of dental school. But not one of them has an American Dental Association sanctioned ‘cosmetic specialty’ in dentistry. Those dentists who choose to make the claim do so by self-proclamation. The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes nine (9) post dental degree specialties and cosmetic dentistry is not one of them. These specialties range in one to six years of advanced training beyond dental school. At the end of this post doctorate training, these dentists receive additional certifications in their respective specialties becoming experts within their fields 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 to Forbes Magazine, a prosthodontist is the rarest dental specialty in the country. The rigorous program creates a dental 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. That’s a mouth full, pun intended. Most dentists they take short weekend 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 prosthodontist is trained in their post graduate work. The prosthodontist is trained at an ADA approved university to create the smile that implements the use of veneers, crowns, bridges and the new standard of care dental implants to ensure that the right smile is achieved, both functionally and aesthetically.
If anyone has a specialty in cosmetic dentistry or the right to call themselves a ‘cosmetic dentist’, it would be the ADA approved prosthodontist. Of the 170 thousand dentists in the U.S., less than two (2%) percent are trained prosthodontists. So when you are seriously looking for a cosmetic dentist, look for a prosthodontist.
Dr. Scheinfeld received her prosthodontics degree from Emory University School of Dentistry in 1988. Her prosthodontics’ instructor, Dr. E. Neal Kopp practiced with her for 14 years until his passing in 2008. In addition, Dr. Sidney Tourial, an adjunct Emory Prosthodontic professor and this year’s GDA President has been in the practice for over 20 years.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
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- The future of Implant Dentistry is here now. (therightsmile.wordpress.com)