This website is unique in that it is the only such website actually written by an accredited cosmetic dentist. My name is Dr. David Hall. I am the author, and I was one of the first forty dentists to become accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. It is also unique in its plain, straightforward talk. I have a strong sense of obligation to you, the visitor, and so I try to tell you the plain and unvarnished truth. Other websites on this subject matter seem governed by professional political correctness. You won’t find that here.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
It is a highly specialized area of dentistry that very few dentists can do well. If you ask your average dentist, they will tell you that sure, they know how to place porcelain veneers. Yet we have a whole file full of e-mails from disappointed patients that demonstrate that this isn’t true. Check our collection of horror stories to see for yourself. And excellent cosmetic dentists will tell you that from 25% to 40% of the esthetic work they do is re-doing other dentists’ work.
It’s actually a controversial area in dentistry. Some dentists insist that it ought to be a specialty. Most dentists, however, insist that it shouldn’t—any dentist properly trained in dental school, they claim, can do esthetic procedures just fine.
Some would attribute this discrepancy in opinion to financial self-interest. Dentists know that this is a profitable practice area and simply don’t want to give it up. While that is undoubtedly part of the reason, it is only part.
Cosmetic Dentistry Is a Blind Spot for Most Dentists
Dentists, most of them, simply don’t understand esthetics. They chose the profession because they like to fix things. They have an engineering mentality, an approach that is reinforced throughout dental school. Beautiful, to them, is perfect margins and healthy gums. And they are taught that the dentist, not the patient, is the best judge of how teeth should look.
A True Story
Let me illustrate with a true story. A few years ago a patient was looking for the best dentist available to do crowns on all her front teeth. She was recommended to a dentist whom she was told was one of the very best in her area. He did ten crowns on her front teeth, with the result pictured below. The dentist raved about this work and thought it was gorgeous. The patient, however, thought it was terrible. It looks fake. There is no sparkle to the teeth, and they have a yellow tinge.
Having been through dental school, I can tell you that this is exactly the kind of smile we would have been taught to make, and if the patient complained, we would have been taught not to listen because we were professionals and knew better.
Fortunately, this patient had enough money to have the work re-done. She went to one of the excellent cosmetic dentists in our referral network, Dr. Thomas Oppenheim of Thomasville, Georgia. He cut off all of the crowns placed by the first dentist and replaced them. You can see his work below. The patient was now thrilled with her smile. You can see that the yellow color is gone. There are no more dark triangles between the teeth. There is sparkle in her smile. Subtleties in the shape make the teeth look real. The overall appearance is warm and inviting.
You might be thinking that this beautiful work would be tremendously expensive, but it usually isn’t. While it is true that there are some very high-end cosmetic dentists who charge very high fees, most charge fees that are about the same as other dentists in their area who do technically excellent work but have no artistic ability.
Find a Cosmetic Dentist
That leads me to the main purpose of this website—helping you find a cosmetic dentist. I stick my neck out in doing this because I don’t just list these dentists, I recommend them. Each doctor recommended on this website has been personally screened by me for training credentials and artistic ability. I do have a legal disclaimer that you need to read before using this site, because it is ultimately the responsibility of the dental board of each state to insure the quality of dental care in each state, and not mine. But I can say that I have made an honest and carefully informed effort to personally insure the quality of my recommendations.
And no, dentists do not have to pay to be listed. They are chosen based on the quality of their work as demonstrated by photographs, and on their credentials. Yes, most of the dentists listed help support the website through sponsorship, but not all of them do. On the other hand, many dentists have offered to pay in order to be listed, and we have turned them down. We thank those dentists who do provide support, as well as the advertisers on the site.