Unlike other dental specialties, such as orthodontics or endodontics, cosmetic dentistry is not regulated or recognized as a specialty.
In theory, any dentist could call themselves a cosmetic dentist – regardless of how much actual cosmetic dentistry training, education, and experience they have.
But that’s not fair to you.
You deserve a dentist who treats cosmetic dentistry as a specialized dental field – requiring additional training and education to offer cosmetic dental services.
So, how do you know if your dentist is qualified to offer cosmetic services?
The best way to know if you can trust a dentist as a cosmetic dentist is if they have achieved accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).
What does it mean to be AACD Accredited?
A dentist who achieves AACD Accreditation is one who treats cosmetic dentistry as a specialized dental field.
He/she knows that to offer you the best cosmetic dental care available, they must improve their skills beyond dental school, research the latest materials and methods, and master new techniques.
To achieve this accreditation, they must pass a rigorous clinical testing process through the AACD, which can take years.
Even after accreditation, AACD dentists continue to improve their skills through education and mentoring opportunities.
By choosing an AACD cosmetic dentist, your smile is in better hands.
In fact, Dr. Merrill is one of only 400 dentists nationwide to have completed this process.
How did Dr. Merrill become an AACD Accredited cosmetic dentist in Huntersville?
There are four parts to becoming an AACD Accredited cosmetic dentist. The process includes:
- Written examination
- Completion of workshops
- Submission of clinical cases
- Oral examination
After successfully passing the last step, a dentist becomes an Accredited Member of the AACD.
Let’s examine each step closer and how it relates to your smile.
1. Written examination
Step one tests on foundational knowledge in cosmetic dentistry. A dentist who is knowledgeable in all phases of cosmetic dentistry is expected to pass this test.
Why this is important to you:
Cosmetic dentistry’s primary focus is on aesthetics – improving the appearance of your smile.
Since this can be done is a variety of ways, such as porcelain veneers or teeth whitening, it’s important your dentist is knowledgeable on all aspects of cosmetic dentistry – not just what he/she offers.
With well-rounded knowledge on the matter, you can trust our dentist offers honest, recommendations and won’t try only to sell you on in-house treatments.
2. Completion of workshops
Step two requires dentists to attend two workshops: an accreditation workshop and a criteria workshop.
During these workshops, dentists learn what excellence in cosmetic dentistry means, what resources are available to them as cosmetic dentists, and what successful vs. unsuccessful clinical cases look like.
To achieve excellence in not just cosmetic dentistry, but also other dental fields like restorative, our dentist partners with top dentists like Dr. David Bunn.
Dr. Bunn has advanced training in comprehensive dentistry and earned a fellowship with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
By partnering with other top dentists, you can benefit from the best all-around dental care.
3. Submission of clinical cases
Step three validates a dentist’s skill and experience in cosmetic dentistry.
After all, if your cosmetic dentist cannot successfully perform all the things they know, then what good does that serve you?
One way you can perform your own evaluation of a dentist is to view their smile gallery with before and after photos.
If you like what you see, then that’s a good sign!
View Dr. Merrill’s before and after cases here:
4. Oral examination
Step four is the final opportunity for a dentist to prove his/her credibility as a cosmetic dentist. They will be asked questions on diagnosis, treatment planning, materials, and techniques.
Upon completing and passing the oral exam, a dentist earns Accreditation with the AACD.
Why this matters to you:
This step ensures that your dentist can formulate the best possible treatment plan for you – taking into consideration factors such as timeline, budget, or smile goals.
If your dentist does not present the best treatment plan for you, then you could end up wasting money or costing yourself more down the road, needing additional dental work, or experiencing short-term results or no results at all.
Choose an AACD Accredited cosmetic dentist
By choosing an AACD Accredited cosmetic dentist in Huntersville, you set yourself up for better smile results.
An AACD dentist is someone who recognizes the expertise involved in cosmetic dentistry and continued his/her training and education beyond dental school to offer that service in the best way possible – as did any other recognized dental specialist, like an orthodontist.
If you are looking for a cosmetic dentist in the Huntersville area, come try out NorthStar Dentistry for Adults.
Life is too short to live with a smile you don’t love. Find out how Dr. Merrill can help you love your smile over a consultation.
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