When searching for a cosmetic dentist, what exactly are you looking for?
Everybody has a different motivation when looking for a cosmetic dentist. However, an interest in ‘cosmetic’ dentistry always indicates an aesthetic concern or at least an awareness of a flaw about oneself. And that perceived imperfection, as far as we are concerned, is dental.
What exactly could it be? As covered in this website, it can be anything that you personally do not consider ideal about your smile. The word 'ideal' needs to be looked at very subjectively in this context. There is no ideal set of teeth that can be reproduced for every person because every mouth is different and has its own unique functional and aesthetic features.
You are predominantly interested in improving what is obvious to you when you speak and when you smile. Therefore, your attention is focused on those teeth that you can see when you raise your lips. This can be further narrowed down to only those tooth surfaces that are visible to the observer. And this is why porcelain veneers have become so popular.
Teeth, observed separately, display certain aesthetic characteristics. These are described, to mention only a few items, as Golden Proportions, Central Dominance, Incisal Translucency, Youthfulness, Polychromaticity, Progression of Axial Alignment, and much more. While these three-dimensional, morphological, and visual aspects of a smile are sound attributes of the aesthetic make-up of a dentition, they do not take into consideration the functional and aesthetic relationships among teeth and their surrounding oral structures. In fact, a beautiful smile is intimately tied to harmonious function and a natural appearance.
So, what do you expect from a cosmetic dentist? It is obvious that you would want him or her to understand what natural beauty really means. Even though cosmetic dentistry uses synthetic materials, such as specifically formulated porcelains and dental primers that generate an intimate and enduring bond between tooth and porcelain, its prime goal should be to recreate nature from its best side. What does that mean? It means a combination of visual indicators that imply health, youthfulness, vigor, self-esteem, and responsibility.
A cosmetic dentist and his dental lab therefore need to be thoroughly familiar with how mother nature creates beauty in a human body, particularly the human face.
It is fascinating to observe how living cells form in orchestration the elements and shapes of a human body. The way a tooth is integrated, as a unit and in unison with the entire dentition, into the multiple functions and dimensions of the oral cavity, jaws, and lower face is spellbinding. We all see the final product on a daily basis and take it for granted, enjoying the beautiful or less beautiful smiles around us. But the endeavor that it has taken to get there has evaded most of us. However, a cosmetic dentist should be very familiar with it. A multi-layered knowledge about the correlation of form, function, and beauty as well as their natural genesis establish the most comprehensive approach towards recreating nature.
Beauty is not a counterfeit, it IS nature. And anyone who does not see that, will not be able to create or enhance beauty.
So, what are our goals when we look for a cosmetic dentist. We want to look naturally better than what nature has given us. Freedom for improvement exists in many different aspects of a dentition, such as tooth position, individual tooth shape, tooth size, worn teeth, stained teeth, and irregularities. All these can be addressed individually. And at the end, we can strive for one very natural element that is so desirable to all of us: youthfulness. What age do you want? Wouldn’t it be nice to roll the time back in our mouths? It is not just possible, but more importantly, it is the one change that does not need to disclose itself as artificial at all. All of us are used to look at teeth of a person at the age of 21 years. So, if we find those teeth in the mouth of a person who is 10 to 30 (or more) years older, we will find that face appear more youthful and healthy. Why? Because the person has teeth that were either maintained well, which is a sign of responsibility and self-esteem, or the person just appears younger and healthier. All of which is very desirable in our human society.
Back to the cosmetic dentist. What does this compound word tell us? Does it instill hope in our desire to have found someone who understands our cosmetic or aesthetic needs, someone who understands our motivations to just look better? This is probably part of it. If we asked a dentist why he called himself cosmetic, he would probably reply that he uses materials that make you look better, and that, one way or the other, he is just a better – if not the best – dentist.
So, the bottom line is that – while it is everyone’s prerogative to call himself a "cosmetic" so-and-so – it should not make a difference. It is one of those adjectives that are used to make a person sound more distinguished, such as the words "first," "best," and "excellent."
It comes down to the problem of having to find a professional who matches our desires. It is about communication, may be even chemistry, and a mutual understanding about what is needed and wanted, blended with the framework of realistic expectations and the skill and desire of the professional to deliver exactly what we want. No need to add "cosmetic" into this. "Cosmetic" is in the eye of the beholder and should be just that if all desires have been considered and fulfilled, right?