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Un-cosmetic dentistry

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Un-cosmetic dentistry
While there are some occasional references to concern about the overuse of porcelain, many articles in dental trade publications show off before and after dental makeovers that from my perspective were quite satisfactory prior to expensive intervention. I will not argue that there are people who truly have displeasing smiles and they can benefit greatly from cosmetic dentistry, but all too often people with body-image issues related to a distorted perception of their teeth seem to be easy victims.

“Smilorexia” is the fanciful term I coined for this disorder, which appears to affect attractive young women more than others. If you open the pages of any journal published by the American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry, you will no doubt find at least one or two of these patients having extensive veneer treatment that could easily have been avoided with unbiased professional advice. The problem is that too many dentists have dedicated their lives to pure cosmetic dentistry, which is often based on using porcelain as a cure-all.

Sadly, many of the cosmetic dentists recognised as the top tier appear to use their standing as a licence to drill. It is time to adopt a significant change in philosophy if the dental profession wishes to maintain any level of integrity. Lip service to conservative cosmetic dentistry means nothing. To truly practise “un-cosmetic dentistry”, a dentist must back away from ceramics and make use of composite to restore worn edges in combination with orthodontics to correct alignment.

This style of treatment does not have to be unprofitable. It does not have to be only for the simplest of cases either; actually, very complex cases can be treated to a high standard when multiple disciplines are employed together. The collaboration of specialists can be one alternative, but for patients on a budget or in areas with lower access, a general dentist trained in advanced therapies can offer comparable results for a fraction of the fee.

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