Is a Cosmetic Dentist a Specialist in the US?

Is a Cosmetic Dentist a Specialist in the US?

Jun 10

The American Dental Association (ADA) is the professional association for dentists in the US. It is the oldest and largest dental organization in the world and serves as the national overseer of the dental profession. It currently recognizes nine dental specialties, namely dental public health, prosthodontics, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and oral and maxillofacial radiology. So technically, cosmetic dentistry is not a specialty; instead, it is a combination of several procedures which improve the appearance of the teeth and mouth that fall under the dental specialties of orthodontics and prosthodontics.

In order for a dental professional to be certified by the ADA, he or she must be board certified in prosthodontics or orthodontics, which requires advanced studies in those fields which could take up to three years. However, a general dentist may perform procedures commonly associated with cosmetic dentistry without ADA approval.

An important distinction that would-be cosmetic dentistry patients should make between general dentists who offer cosmetic dental procedures is where they got their training as a cosmetic dentist. In Nevada, general practitioners who may be said to be qualified to practice as a cosmetic dentist are those who completed the advanced training and clinical experience required at The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI) and had thus been awarded the title of LVI Fellow. Barring board certification in prosthodontics and/or orthodontics, in which dental esthetics is just a portion of either specialty, a general dentist who is an LVI Fellow is the next best thing.

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