FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Dentists Say No!
Dentists are opposed to cosmetic dentistry becoming a board-certified specialty, according to a Wealthy Dentist survey. Most already practice some form of cosmetic dentistry, and general dentists want to be able to continue to offer their patients cosmetic options. The 11% of dentists in favor of cosmetic credentials are concerned about the quality of care offered by some so-called “cosmetic dentists.”
(Tiburon, California) April 6, 2007 – The clear majority of dentists don’t think cosmetic dentistry should be a separate specialty. In a recent dental survey by The Wealthy Dentist, 89% of dentists felt that the current system works, and cosmetic dentistry should not be board-certified. Only 11% expressed the opinion that it is time that cosmetic dentistry be recognized as its own specialty. (The American Dental Association does not
currently recognize a “cosmetic dentist” category.)
The most significant factor in determining a dentist’s vote was geographic location. Urban dentists were far more likely than their rural colleagues to support board certification for cosmetic dentistry. This may suggest that dentists in more urban areas are somewhat more likely to specialize exclusively in cosmetic dentistry. Though rural dentists want to be able to perform cosmetic procedures on their patients, their patients still need their general dentistry services as well.
Most dentists already perform some cosmetic procedures. Survey comments suggest that they don’t want to lose their ability to perform these procedures, and they’re not eager to jump through any administrative hoops in order to get board certification. “We do not need to give the government more money,” said a general dentist from California. “Every dentist thinks about cosmetics when delivering any restoration to a patient.” An Alaska dentist opined, “The ADA needs to open up more areas for specialty consideration, but cosmetic dentistry is not one of them.”
Many doctors scoffed at the idea of cosmetic dentistry as separate from other forms of dentistry. An Iowa periodontist commented, “All specialties (and general practice) have cosmetic elements.” “All dentists are cosmetic dentists!” insists a Florida orthodontist.
Some were offended at the very idea of cosmetic dentistry as a specialty. “The entire field is subjective, mostly based on market-driven forces and not evidence-based criteria. Making it a specialty is an insult to those of us who endeavor for excellence in our daily activities,” said a New York prosthodontist. Commented a Florida dentist, “Over-specialization is a sure-fire ticket to destroying the profession – just look at medicine.”
“The term ‘cosmetic dentistry’ is marketing – every dentist practices it,” said a Michigan doctor. A New York dentist remarked, “I do better cosmetic dentistry than the local guys who spend a fortune to advertise and boast they are leaders in the field.” A Virginia dentist asked,
“Should we limit the use of the term ‘cosmetic’ in practice promotions? Yes!”
Some did feel that regulation would help ensure quality. “Everyone today is a cosmetic dentist,” said a California doctor. “As with any specialty, any dentist could still provide cosmetic dentistry services, but they could not claim to be a specialist, which is every cosmetic dentist's claim today. This would give the public another criterion in deciding who they want to provide their cosmetic services.”
A number of doctors questioned how board certification would be implemented.”To my knowledge, there are no educational programs that would meet specialty criteria,” said a Florida dentist. Asked a New York colleague, “How will you make sure of standards for care? Where will this be done, at the undergraduate or graduate level? I cannot believe that general dentists would want this. It can’t be done at the Continuing Education level.”
“Anyone offering ‘full-mouth makeovers’ should already have a specialty – it’s called prosthodontics!” pointed out a California dentist. A Mississippi dentist and dental professor had a similar thought: “Prosthodontics could engulf cosmetic dentistry. If anything, we should make general dentistry a specialty as medicine has done for family practice. I graduated in 1970, and the body of knowledge in dentistry has multiplied many times. Perhaps, like medicine, dentistry should require a residency for licensure.”
“The dirty little secret about ‘cosmetic dentistry’ is that it probably has more to do with a good ceramist than a good dentist,” wrote an
Ohio doctor. A prosthodontist from Georgia went even further: “My definition of a cosmetic dentist is a mediocre operator with an excellent lab, doing mostly unnecessary treatment on healthy tissues, charging too much for services, and failing to inform patients of the risks.”
One Kansas dentist ranted, “Name one dentist who does ugly dentistry! This specialty will insult the whole profession. Maybe cosmetic dentists should do makeup, hair styling, manicures, tanning, eyeliner tattoos and colon cleansing like some are already doing. Why use a middleman hair stylist? Cosmetic dentistry is legalized rip-off.”
“One way or another, cosmetic dentistry will continue to play an increasing role in modern dental care,” commented The Wealthy Dentist founder Jim Du Molin. “Who exactly will ‘own’ cosmetic dental care is a contentious issue. These survey results clearly show that few dentists want to get out of the cosmetic dentist business!”
For additional information on this and other Wealthy Dentist surveys, visit www.thewealthydentist.com/survey.
About The Wealthy Dentist:
The Wealthy Dentist is a dental marketing and practice management resource featuring dental consultant Jim Du Molin. The site’s weekly surveys and dental newsletters are viewed by thousands of dentists across the United States and Canada. The Wealthy Dentist is a sister company of the Internet Dental Alliance, Inc. (www.internetdentalalliance.com). IDA is the largest provider of dental internet marketing websites, email patient newsletters and dental directories in North America.
Jim Du Molin