It seems to be prevalent that most dentists these days are calling themselves ‘cosmetic dentists’, but there is no ‘cosmetic’ specialty in dentistry. And quite frankly, all dentistry is cosmetic. I don’t know anyone who took the ‘ugly’ teeth course in dental school, because it doesn’t exist.
Regardless, the fact remains that the majority of dentists are general dentists, but take the liberty to call themselves ‘cosmetic dentists’. They all have undergraduate degrees with either a BA or BS 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 dentisty 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 what should be considered experts within their fields of dentistry. Some are either board eligible or board certified. 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 = Cosmetic Dentist. A Prosthodontist has 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. Most dentists are not trained prosthodontic graduates of a dental school – rather they take short continuing education 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 appearance that implements the use of veneers, crowns, bridges and the increasingly more common procedure of dental implants to ensure that the right smile is achieved, both functionally and aesthetically beautiful. If anyone has 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
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Sandy Springs, GA 30328