For Clinicians

How to become a successful cosmetic dentist

Dr Drew Winstanley – a Doctify-reviewed dentist working across Penistone and Barnsley – looks at what it takes to become a cosmetic dentist and stand out from the crowd at a time when more dentists are providing cosmetic dentistry than ever before.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the number of patients undergoing cosmetic dental procedures has skyrocketed. As such, the number of dentists providing these procedures has also increased dramatically. So, how do dentists differentiate themselves? 

The best way will always be through the delivery of top class dentistry. And, this should always start with a detailed and personalised treatment plan. 

For those looking to become a successful cosmetic dentist, here are my top tips for treatment planning so that you can give every patient that you see their perfect smile.

The proof is in the planning

Success in smile makeover treatments is all in the planning. Take the time to question the patient thoroughly, assess them in a structured manner and look over their clinical records (photos, scans and x-rays) in detail. This allows for proper planning to be carried out and the outcome to be visualised.

Make full use of dental technology

Cloud-based dental software and computer-aided design technology can help you infinitely. They allow dentists to collaborate on cases without meeting in person. Computer-aided design also enables you to perform the treatment virtually first. This is the future of dentistry, and it has just arrived.

Remember, it’s all about the smile

The first part of your plan should be to design the end result – the smile. At the end of the day, this is what your patients are coming for. Not for implants, orthodontic work or composite bonding. They’re coming for a smile they feel comfortable and confident with.

To design the final smile, analyse the photos and STL scans. Then follow a set of smile design rules in order to create the end result. Once you know where you’re going, you can then work out how to get there.

Tailor your treatment

Once you have designed the end result – the smile – decide on the treatment that is needed to achieve this, whether that is orthodontics, implants or veneers. The treatment that you recommend should meet your patient’s desires and expectations, while also fitting into their budget.

Plan your time and consultations carefully

Make sure you allocate sufficient time for consultations. You need to be able to ask questions and develop a rapport with your patients.

I would recommend dividing your new patient consultation into two appointments. This will give you and your lab the opportunity to analyse, plan and prepare. It also means that you have time after the initial appointment to think clearly about what treatment options will work best for the patient.

Inter-appointment planning allows you to develop a plan that you’re confident in. It means that you can work out how to best communicate with the patient so that they value the plan that you’re proposing. It also allows you to get comfortable talking about costs. 

When your consultation is split across two appointments, your workflow will look a little like this:

  • Virtual consultation (if you’re that way inclined)
  • Clinical consultation
  • Inter-appointment planning
  •  Plan presentation
  • Treatment delivery

A motto to always remember in cosmetic dentistry is ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’. By taking the time to produce high-end treatment plans, this will help you to deliver top class dentistry to your patients and create their perfect smiles.