Choosing a Cosmetic Dentist Who’s Right for You

Across the board, finding qualified medical professionals who are not only highly proficient in their craft, but are also able to meet your unique needs can be tricky… and it’s definitely a process. If you’re looking to find a cosmetic dentist, but don’t know where to start, here’s a few helpful tips to help you find the provider you need:

Step 1 | Understand the Scope of Services

The first step in finding the right cosmetic dentist is to first understand what it is you need done (e.g. braces, extraction, etc.) and make sure it aligns with their service offerings and specialities. 

For the most part, cosmetic dentists provide:  

  • General Dentistry.  This includes both customized services as well as general dentistry services, which not only takes into account the appearance of your teeth, but ensures your overall oral health is on track. General dentistry procedures may include:


    • Fillings. This procedure helps treat teeth with varying levels of cavities or decay, and can also be used to repair injured or cracked teeth.
    • Dental crowns. This method repairs teeth which have more extensive damage or decay. Crowns are usually the last ditch effort to save a tooth before it must be extracted. They are also used to correct cosmetic imperfections.


  • Tooth extractions. When a decayed tooth cannot be repaired, a general dentist will remove it. In other instances, such is the case with wisdom teeth, an impacted tooth which is unable to break through the gum barrier may also require extraction. 
  • Braces. Braces are used to position the teeth to improve alignment, jaw discomfort, and aesthetics. 
  • Sedation Dentistry. Dental anxiety, or dental fear, is estimated to affect about  36% of the population, while another 12% is reported to suffer from extreme dental fear. If this sounds like you, a cosmetic dentist can use sedation dentistry to help ease dental anxiety and fear of needles. This is a great option not only for generalized anxiety, but those with a sensitive gag reflex or a low pain tolerance. 

Implant Dentistry. Whether you have loose fitting dentures or missing teeth, dental implants are often used to correct  issues and create a natural, beautiful smile.  Implants are surgically placed in your jawbone and work as “anchors” or roots for artificial teeth. Typically, the implant base material is titanium, which fuses with your jawbone, and won’t slip, make noise or cause bone damage in the way that bridgework or dentures sometimes do.

Photo of doctor taking picture of patient
Photo of doctor consultation with patient

Step 2 | Get a Referral

Reading reviews online is a great place to start, but often, the best place to get recommendations is from friends and family members. Ask your local nearest and dearest for a referral, and then you can do some research on your own. You may also consider asking other dental professionals, such as your orthodontist, for a professional referral.  You can then check out the doctor’s website, talk to the office, or even go in for a preliminary consultation.

Step 3 | Do Your Research

Most cosmetic dentists will have a portfolio of their work online. Of all the different dental professions, cosmetic dentists may have it easiest when it comes to showing off their work because they routinely work in the arena of “before and afters.” However, keep in mind, some pictures (especially those online) run the risk of being altered or may be stock photos, so it’s a good practice to inquire if the photos represent actual patient results. It’s also a good idea to physically visit the office and get a feel for the office staff. Going to the dentist isn’t everyone’s favorite, but an office that’s warm and inviting can make a big difference.

Step 4 | Check (and then Double-Check) Credentials

Okay, so you have your referrals, you’ve checked out their online portfolio, and perhaps you’ve even visited the office. Now, it’s time to make sure they hold the appropriate credentials and are qualified to do the work. Here’s a few things you’ll want to check into:

  • The dental school your dentist attended
  • Professional organizations they’re involved with
  • If they are a part of  the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

About The Art of Dentistry

Located in San Diego, Dr. David Landau, Dr. Lawrence Addleson and their extraordinary team are widely recognized for their top-quality smile designs. They have been awarded with recognition from their  peers for many consecutive years and have been credited for the “whole body” approach to cosmetic dentistry.