Smile Makeovers in Sacramento, CA Sacramento DentistrySmile Makeovers in Sacramento, CA
Dental Care Blog

How to Choose a Cosmetic Dentist

Serving Sacramento, Modesto and Stockton, California

Straight, white smiles are in high demand, and deciding who is going to perform your cosmetic dental treatment is not a decision to be taken lightly. Keep in mind that you are literally placing your mouth in someone else’s hands.  Choosing the right cosmetic dentist will affect your life for years to come.  It is absolutely crucial to shop around and do research to find the best cosmetic dentist for you in your area. Choosing the right cosmetic dentist is the first and most important step in creating your new beautiful smile.  Are all dentists the same?  Definitely notHere’s why!

Education and Training

When dentists graduate from dental school and receive their dental degree, they may then specialize in one of eight specialties which require extensive additional training.  Cosmetic dentistry is not one of these specialties.  As yet there are no legal requirements for calling yourself a “cosmetic dentist”.  Any dentist can claim to be a cosmetic dentist.  This is a perplexing problem for the dental consumer because there are vast differences in the training, experience, skill and knowledge of those dentists labeling themselves “cosmetic dentists”.  How does the potential patient filter out those dentists who are truly qualified to provide cosmetic services at the highest level?  A number of guidelines listed below will assist you.

Guidelines for Selecting your “Cosmetic” Dentist

First, ask a dentist offering to do your cosmetic dentistry what training beyond dental school they have in this area.  Because of time constraints dental school only teaches the very basics in a wide range fields. Much of the knowledge, skill and training in all of these areas is acquired by attending postgraduate education courses following graduation from dental school. The very best postgraduate training in cosmetic dentistry is acquired through “hands-on” courses that include not only lecture updates, but also the actual treatment of a patient under the direct supervision of highly trained cosmetic dentists.  A number of these courses are available around the country but only a very small percentage of dentists actually make the investment in time and money to attend them.

The second thing to ask is whether they belong to any organizations focused solely on cosmetic dentistry.  There are several organizations they could belong to, but the most important one is The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.  This organization has existed since 1984 when state-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry was in its infancy.  This organization is far and away the leader in its field. They even offer a program for “accreditation” for its members which is a rigorous 3 step process that may take up to 5 years to complete.  Dentists who complete this process are considered to be the very best in their field.  The organization numbers approximately 8000 members from all over the world.  To date there are only 286 dentists who have been able to achieve “accreditation” status.   

Third, ask a prospective cosmetic dentist whether or not they have a “before and after” photographic catalogue of patients that they have treated.  Books of “before and after” photos of patients treated by other cosmetic dentists are available for sale on the market, so it must be emphasized you want to see their cases.  Most experienced and qualified cosmetic dentists will have this information readily available.

Fourth, ask for testimonials from patients and ask if you could speak to several patients that have cosmetic problems similar to yours.  Most qualified dentists would be more than willing to accommodate your request.

The last things to consider, but certainly not the least important, are some subjective criteria.  For instance, how do you and the dentist relate to each other?  How are his communication skills?  Does he seem sincere and honest and seem to have your best interests at heart?  Does he present multiple alternatives and explain things well?  Is he willing to answer any questions you may have?  Do you feel pressured to make a decision?  Is the office staff friendly, helpful and knowledgeable?  This subjective relationship is very important.  You must feel comfortable and confident with any dentist you select.

Why Choose Dr. Bartolome & Dr. Swearingen as your Cosmetic Dentist?

Dr. Swearingen has been in private practice since 1981.  He has extensive experience in all areas of dentistry and has been heavily involved with cosmetic dentistry since the mid-1990’s.   In that time period he has completed thousands of hours of postgraduate training as well as thousands of cosmetic procedures. In the late 1990’s, Dr. Swearingen began attending one of the most prestigious hands-on postgraduate education centers in the world – The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.  LVI specializes in training the best cosmetic and neuromuscular dentists in the world. Practicing dentists from all over the globe come to LVI to advance their education, knowledge and expertise. LVI graduates are among the finest, most innovative dentists in the world.

In 1997, Dr. Swearingen joined The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry which is the premier dental organization for cosmetic dentists.  He has since achieved “accreditation” status with the organization, making him one of only a select group of 286 dentists worldwide.  Currently, he is one of only two dentists to have achieved this status in the Sacramento area.

Dr. Bartolome grew up in the Greater Sacramento Area.  She graduated Cum Laude from California State University, Sacramento.  With honors, she received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, where she was the Recipient of the Award for Excellence in Clinical and Patient Management. 
Since then, Dr. Bartolome has attended extensive courses in the aspects of tooth prep design, invisalign, restorative dentistry, and oral conscious sedation.  Her commitment to excellence and her passion for cosmetic dentistry compelled her to take cosmetic dentistry courses from the renowned California Center for Advanced Dental Studies.  Dr. Bartolome is a member of the Prestigious American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

In addition to the above organization, Dr. Swearingen & Dr. Bartolome are members of the Academy of General Dentistry, as well as a lifetime member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association and the Sacramento District Dental Society. They are certified in invisalign, lumineers, and are licensed members of the Dental Organization for Oral Conscious Sedation.

Both Doctors have taken several other highly acclaimed training courses related to cosmetic dentistry in order to stay informed of the new developments in the cosmetic dental field. As a result, our office is established as one of the select group of offices in Northern California able to provide state-of-the-art cosmetic dental procedures.


Above and beyond the extensive experience, training and credentials that Dr. Bartolome and Dr. Swearingen have are their commitment to excellence. They work very hard at being the best they can be so that they can provide their patients the best state-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry available anywhere. Should you consider them for your cosmetic treatment, they will thoroughly discuss your wants and needs with you. They will then present to you all the options that may help you achieve your cosmetic goals. Together you will customize a treatment plan that is just right for you!
If you would like to meet Dr. Bartolome and Dr. Swearingen and see why their patients think they are the best choice in the Sacramento area for your cosmetic and general dental treatment, please contact their office to schedule your initial consultation. They would love to meet you!




Email or call us to see how we can change your smile.

Michelle C. Bartolome D.M.D. William H. Swearingen D.D.S.


Cosmetic and General Dentistry
7916 Pebble Beach Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95610