According to Wikipedia, “Cosmetic Dentistry refers to any dental work that improves the appearance of teeth, gums and/or bite. It primarily focuses on improvement in dental aesthetics in color, position, shape, size, alignment and overall smile appearance. Many dentists refer to themselves as cosmetic dentists regardless of their specific education, specialty, training, and experience in this field. This has been considered unethical with a predominant objective of marketing to patients.”
Thus the reason any dentist can call themselves a Cosmetic Dentist, is because the American Dental Association does not recognize Cosmetic Dentistry as a specialty.
Wikipedia states: The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) is the largest international dental organization in the world, composed of general dentists, specialists, and lab technicians focused on the art and science of cosmetic dentistry. Founded in 1984, the AACD has over 7,000 members in the United States and more than 70 countries around the globe. AACD members seek out continuing education through lectures, workshops, and publications in order to keep up-to-date with all of the advancements in cosmetic dental techniques and technology. In 1984, the AACD was formed and has filled the dire need for credentialing in cosmetic dentistry. The purpose of the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry (ABCD) is the testing, analyzing, and evaluation of the services of dentists and laboratory technicians for the purpose of awarding AACD Accreditation in cosmetic dentistry.
Out of the 7000 members world wide, less than 400 have been awarded AACD Accreditation in cosmetic dentistry. As a member since 2008, I continue on my journey for Accreditation with the goal of continuously improving my skills. I have passed the written exam, passed the rigors of three cases, and have two cases left to pass followed by an oral examination. During this process I have learned to document my work with RAW dental photography, which can not be edited or photoshopped. I have had one of my three cases published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, and continue to learn new skills and improve every year.
So, how does a patient know if their Cosmetic Dentist is qualified to deliver outstanding results?
By asking to see unedited real photographs of actual work completed by the dentist. Does the work look natural? Does it look real? Does it look good? Can the cosmetic dentist match one or two teeth seamlessly with the others? Can the dentist replace a missing tooth in the smile zone without detection? Can the dentist offer natural looking hand sculpted composite resin veneers as a lower cost alternative to porcelain veneers? This is what an AACD accredited dentist has proven he or she can do for their patients. The photos say everything. If a cosmetic dentist can not show you real photos of real dentistry they have completed, or if those photos do not look good to you, find someone else who is qualified to make your smile look it’s best.