The surprising rewards of cosmetic dentistry


One practitioner explains the benefits cosmetic dentistry brought to her career.

I have always been inspired by beauty and how symmetry and balance are key factors to creating a visual masterpiece.

Cosmetic enhancements whether they be dental, surgical or simply hair and make-up have the ability to create balance and symmetry within the face. 

In dental school, I was driven to complete a handful of cosmetic cases because I knew this was my passion. The cases I completed were straightforward cases with not many variables, leading to beautiful predictable results. The rush I got from transforming these patients’ images was exactly what I had hoped for and I knew I wanted to do more of it. 

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After graduation, I was cavalier; I equated the success I achieved in my in cosmetic cases in clinic to being seasoned in cosmetic dentist. In my early days of private practice, I was overly confident taking on as many cosmetic cases as I could, soon to find out the results I was achieving were sub-par and unpredictable. 

I no longer felt that rush; instead my stomach was in knots thinking where did I go wrong?

This gut-wrenching feeling started a fire within me to learn to present treatment plans with results I knew I could achieve while managing patient expectations

I came across the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) website and read about the accreditation process and was amazed by the beautiful cases that were showcased in the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry. I was blown away by the caliber of dentistry and seamless artistic beauty members were achieving on their accreditation cases. I was determined to become accredited in hopes that it would give me the tools I needed to practice the level of dentistry I had imagined I would be doing out of school. 

I took the written exam and embarked on the accreditation process, taking every hands-on class at the AACD general meetings. I learned immensely from the workshops and working with the amazingly passionate and supportive mentors. 

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I remember picking a case that I thought I could use for an accreditation case and my mentor pointing out a plethora of challenges that I had not seen or even thought about. It is truly amazing how each of the five accreditation cases in itself are so simple, but yet finding an ideal case with predictable results is quite challenging. This obstacle is exactly what I was experiencing when I started private practice. Simple cases are easy to complete with predictable results, but identifying the difficult cases and treatment planning the complexities all while achieving a beautiful result, that is an art.

The accreditation process trained my eye to identify ‘complex’ cases, allowing for more thorough treatment planning as well as the ease of discussing the esthetic challenges with the patient and managing their expectations. In addition, I learned to use my camera to document my cases and communicate to my laboratory technician exactly what I wanted.

 Pursuing the credential was indeed challenging and tested my patience and drive, but if changed my life, the way I practice dentistry and the joy it brings me.

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