What additional training is required for a dentist to become a cosmetic dentist?
This is actually a trick question, because the answer is none! This is because Cosmetic Dentistry is not a recognized specialty by the ADA or by any Dental Board in the US. It is essentially the same as if a dentist said they were a Friendly Dentist, or a Family Dentist or a Gentle Dentist; it is only a description that some dentists use to advertise. All dentists are able to perform the same procedures and techniques on their patients, including whitening, implants, veneers, crowns, gingival grafting or gingivectomy (reshaping).
Some dentists do have a particular love for performing complex cosmetic work, and there are certainly differences in the abilities of different dentists. There are entire journals and societies devoted to research and instruction in the field of esthetic dentistry, and new materials and techniques are being developed all the time. As with most things, education and experience are very important with esthetics.
Recently, a patient asked me if I felt they should see a cosmetic dentist for some dental work they needed on their front teeth. After explaining to them that I perform cosmetic work and that I receive ongoing training in all aspects of dentistry, including esthetic dentistry, I realized that others are probably confused at the terminology. At the moment, I choose not to advertise myself as a Cosmetic Dentist, or a Friendly Dentist or a Gentle Dentist, but I want my patients to know I consider myself all of the above. If you ever have any questions about my training or education, never hesitate to ask me!