Thoughtful patient selection for cosmetic dentistry

Thoughtful patient selection for cosmetic dentistry

With cosmetic dentistry steadily gaining popularity, Nick Jahany stresses the importance of patient selection and how to communicate the lifelong commitment of cosmetic treatments.

In the realm of cosmetic dentistry, where the pursuit of a perfect smile often meets the desire for self-improvement, ethical considerations play a pivotal role. As cosmetic treatments become increasingly accessible, it is paramount for practitioners to uphold ethical standards, particularly in patient selection.

In this article, we delve into the importance of careful patient selection in cosmetic dentistry, highlighting the democratisation of treatments and the lifelong commitment they entail.

The democratisation of cosmetic dentistry

The democratisation of cosmetic dentistry through lower price point cosmetic treatment has led to a surge in demand for smile enhancements. For example, composite bonding or lower price point ceramic veneers, whether in this country or abroad. Younger patient demographics have also contributed to the increased demand.

With the lowered barrier to entry for cosmetic treatment, the ongoing servicing, maintenance and lifetime replacement cost of such treatment is often not being considered or explained. 

With increased accessibility comes the responsibility to carefully evaluate patients’ suitability for treatments. It is essential to maintain standards of professional integrity by conducting comprehensive patient assessments. These assessments include thorough evalution of oral health status, to manage patient expectations. This ensures the patient understands the lifetime financial responsibility of the restorative commitment they are making.

Patient selection – a delicate balance

Selecting the right patients for cosmetic dental treatment requires a delicate balance between meeting patient desires and ensuring their wellbeing. Advancements in cosmetic procedures have certainly made treatments more inclusive. However it is imperative for dentists to discern candidates who understand the lifelong commitment as well as seeking aesthetic improvements.

This is especially important in the younger patient demographic that are perhaps more outcome driven. It involves thorough discussions about treatment expectations, potential risks, and the responsibility of the cost of maintenance. This is as paramount as the treatment itself. Level setting with the patient on what this entails is key.  

The clinician’s long-term commitment 

The clinician’s responsibility and commitment to the continual care of the patient is vital when cosmetic dental treatment is delivered. Cosmetic dental treatment should not be seen as one-off treatments. The continual monitoring of treatment carried out over time is important.  

The patient’s general dental provider may not be experienced enough or have the support network to attend to the patients’ higher-level dental restorative needs. Therefore, the need for continued support and supervision over time must always be communicated to the patient. They must have an understanding of the commitment required over time to ensure optimal success rates of treatment.  

To conclude, ethical practices in cosmetic dentistry rely on careful patient selection and transparent communication. By prioritising patient wellbeing over commercial interests, dentists can uphold professional integrity and contribute to the sustained success of the field. Through comprehensive assessments and ongoing support, practitioners can ensure that every smile transformation journey is guided by ethical principles, resulting in optimal outcomes for patients and the profession as a whole. 

Dr Nick Jahany is a partner and clinical lead at The Welbeck Clinic. For more information visit

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