Dento-Facial Aesthetics: Should It Really Be Classed as Dentistry?

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Dento-Facial Aesthetics Should It Really Be Classed as Dentistry In Alderley, Newmarket, Brisbane At My Dentist
The 19C and 20C were all about carving up the world and life into neat little boxes. Categorising things was a penchant of the Victorian era. We may not understand everything, but we have rendered it all into bite sized topics and subjects – this has been the modus operandi for academia and governments around the globe ever since. Thus, when asking the question- “Dento-Facial Aesthetics: Should it really be classed as dentistry?” we are faced with a conundrum of our own making on this score. Do we remain committed to a more narrow definition of what a dentist does and should do or do we, perhaps, spread our wings and fly a little higher and further than before?

The Cosmetic Depths Of Dentistry’s Concerns in the 21C

Dentistry, as a study and as a business within the health sector, is expanding its scope. It began with the realisation that much of the demand for dentistry was predicated on the cosmetic concern of the client or patient. Sure, these individuals wanted a fully functioning bite for the eating and drinking prowess and pleasure it would bring them, but they, also, wanted to look the part of an aesthetically pleasing member of the human race. The social pressures of being a human being within a community in the modern era demand adherence to a particular aesthetic set of principles. The bright, white smile being a prominent feature within these guidelines. Nobody wants to be ugly or considered so by their peers. Young people, especially those of breeding age, are inordinately concerned with their social appearance. Choosing a mate is all about selecting the best candidate based upon their attractiveness in light of passing on those genes to future generations. Snaggly teeth and a face failing in its zygomatic ability to engender a winning smile is no cosmetic combination fit for the future.

Dento-Facial Aesthetics & The Future Of Dentistry

The future of dentistry is in form and function for better or worse. Most dentists would say it is well for the better. Sophisticated societies in the wealthy West have great expectations upon their progeny in both look and substance. To succeed in life one must appear pleasing to the eye of both prospective mates and employers. You must have the right stuff inside and out. Dental professionals are emerging out of the maw and into the light. They are, symbolically and literally, stepping back to take in the bigger picture before them. Their patients and clients are needing a broader spectrum of skills to achieve what they want from their physical bodies. The head and face are coming into sharp focus. Faces are so important within our culture in terms of identity. Who we are is defined in many ways by how our face appears to others around us. Are we beautiful? Are we pleasing to look upon? Would this face launch a thousand ships? Perhaps not, but at least we wont make small children cry in fright.

Dento-Facial Aesthetics Should It Really Be Classed as Dentistry In Alderley, Newmarket, Brisbane At My Dentist
Dentist Or Cosmetic Surgeon?

Dento-Facial aesthetics are in fact the future of dentistry, in my view. Dentists and dental clinicians want their patients to enjoy the glow of warm acceptance by their brethren. Nobody wants to stand out for all the wrong reasons. Everybody wants the tribe to welcome them into their world. “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” we were all told, but everybody does, of course. It is hard to get to first base if people turn away from you instinctively. Cosmetic stuff is important on this basis. Yes, some individuals take it way too far in terms of body augmentation and enhancement procedures.

History Of The Psychology Of Cosmetic Surgery

“In his historical review, Gifford (1972) traced interest in the psychology of cosmetic surgery patients to Freud’s (1918)Wolf-Man, whose obsessive concern with a trivial scar from a cyst removal became a focus of one of the most famous cases in psychiatric annals. Soon after, surgical advances following World War I were accompanied by enthusiastic reports of the emotional relief experienced by disfigured individuals who underwent reconstructive surgery. These positive reports fueled the growth of plastic surgery as an elective procedure for non-disfigured individuals…..Surgeons were cautioned of the psychopathology of the male patient, as well as of the “insatiable” surgery patient who sought out numerous cosmetic procedures in pursuit of the perfect face. Although patients of the era were thought to be psychologically disturbed, surgery rarely was ruled out, and the psychiatric outcomes typically were described as positive (Gifford, 1972).”
Science Direct

Following this period, we have been in a gung-ho acceptance phase of cosmetic surgery and it has spread from operating theatres to suburban beauty parlours with alacrity. Cosmetic Injectables are popular, as clients sought to tame the wrinkling of the shrew. Ageing is no fun, as movie star legend Bette Davis once remarked, “old age aint for sissies.” Dento-Facial aesthetics seems to be a morphing, in a business sense, of the dental clinic and the beauty parlour. A one-stop-shop, perhaps, to service the requirements of those clients in need of a smile makeover with more facial surgery dimensions than mere dental work can muster.

The Broadening Scope Of Dentistry

Dento-Facial Aesthetics: Should it really be classed as dentistry? Yes, some dentists and health professionals may harbour far more orthodox views regarding the domain and remit of dentistry. They may see the admixing of cosmetic medicine with dentistry, as polluting the purity of the profession, but times have changed and I cannot see any return to the more limited scope of yesteryear for dental clinicians. Dentists want to help their patients achieve the look, bite, and smile they so desire to fit in with the social expectations of the times. Dento-Facial aesthetics will assist dental clinics in providing that much sought after care for their clients.

The AADFA Claims To Be…

“The Australasian Academy of Dento-Facial Aesthetics (AADFA) was established in 2009, dedicated to advancing the art and science of Aesthetic and Facial Rejuvenation Education for the benefit of both dental practitioners and the public. With more than 20,000 Dentists having undergone our “Fundamental” training program, AADFA’s recent global expansion to form AADFA International, means we now represent a growing Member base of more than 12,000 dentists, across 15 countries of operation. AADFA International engages closely with regulators, insurance providers, and product manufacturers, as well as providing clinical, legal and administrative support to ensure members maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct, clinical excellence and responsible patient care.”

It may be more than a mouthful, the Australasian Academy of Dento-facial Aesthetics (AADFA), but it appears on face value (hey, I should be in marketing, LOL) to be building something substantial. More dental clinics are offering these extra services and, hopefully, the training is, as claimed, at the highest standards of clinical excellence and responsible patient care. Dentistry in Australia is of a very high standard and we would not want the move into cosmetic medicine to lower those in any way. I would, as a prospective client always quiz the clinic offering these services on the qualifications of those performing the procedures for safety sake. Never assume anything in life and don’t ever be too embarrassed to ask a lot of questions prior to going under the knife or needle.


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