The Similarities between Dentists and Artists

The days of the lab coated nerd in a house of pain is long gone. Now, it’s goodbye to the dreaded dental clinics and welcome to the hip dental salons. The world of dentistry has evolved. Dentists are no longer purely teeth doctors. They have advanced from simple tooth fillings and extractions. They have crossed the borders between being a man of science and a man of art. What most artists can do, a cosmetic dentist can do too.

The jobs of artists and dentists used to be poles apart. Art is the world of creativity. An artist is a person whose profession requires knowledge of colors, shapes and beauty. An artist is an individual possessing an exceptional skill, with the heart and power of imagination. Artists such as painters, sculptors, writers or musicians are gifted with a virtue of sensitivity and originality that creates works of aesthetic value. On the other hand, a general dentist is a skilled practitioner. They are a product of a thoroughly researched and studied discipline that specializes in the diagnoses, analyses, and treatments of dental problems. As the US Department of Labor defines, the nature of work of a dentist is to diagnose, prevent, and treat problems with teeth and mouth tissue. They remove dental cavities, replace protective sealants, and repair fractured teeth. A conventional dentist’s mission is to fix dental problems with a much lower anticipation of beauty.

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Science and art are smoothly unified in cosmetic dentistry. Dentistry and art are crafts that both require special skill and careful attention to details. Hence, with the advent of cosmetic dentistry, a new breed of dentists does not just ease the pain of a decayed tooth. They now have an additional mission which is to bring back the original appearance or to enhance the face and the teeth.  They no longer have just patients but clients too. Cosmetic dentistry fixes and treats decays, infections, cracks, or other structural problems through scientific art. This field includes Prosthodonthics or complicated dental reconstruction, Orthodontics where teeth are moved for proper alignment, and oral surgery, to name a few. Cosmetic dentistry is the art of addressing the self-perception of the patient. Cosmetic dentists know that if the patient is not pleased with the appearance of the work, the case is a failure (Hall 1). Cosmetic dentists have a passion to produce great smiles and have an added spark of creativity and attention to beauty. They can be referred to as plastic surgeons of a certain class.

Dentists have begun to think and perform like artists. Just like painters, cosmetic dentists don’t just see white or yellowish. Cosmetic dentists understand that there are many shades and variations of white and yellowish. This is very important when doing procedures such as teeth whitening treatments and making porcelain veneers. But that’s not the only part of dentistry that involves the eyes of an artist. Dentists make great sculptures and masterpieces as well. Sculpting involves carving, modeling and shaping. Dental surgeries do the same thing. A cosmetic dentist does not only see teeth to extract and cracks to fill but also the elements of beauty in a face and in the form and alignment of the teeth. Therefore, one no longer has to put up with chipped, crooked or misshapen teeth. There are procedures available to correct these problems and these require the talent and expertise of a “dentist-artist” (“Polishing Their Image” 1).  Some of the most popular procedures practiced today are bonding, enamel shaping and veneer.  Bonding can improve the appearance of chipped teeth by applying enamel-like material to a tooth’s surface, sculpting it into shape then hardening and polishing it. Enamel shaping,  on the other hand, involves transforming teeth to enhance their form by removing, contouring, slenderizing, and stripping enamel. And the most increasingly popular procedure are the veneers, which is an option for closing gaps or disguising discolored teeth that did not respond well to whitening procedures.  These procedures are designed to focus to both the health and beauty of a person’s smile because these dentists know that the slightest change in a smile can make a remarkable difference in the way people look and feel about their selves.

Dentistry is an art of perfect preparation. It is a special blend of crafts and science. Incorporating with aesthetic quality, the continuous development in the field of dentistry gives value both in the art and the discipline of dental technology. Art, as performed by dentists, is about bringing out the beauty of dentally challenged persons by providing them with a million dollar smile.  Just like artists, dentists have extended their creative mind beyond the wall of limitations. Combining this artistic mind with scientific knowledge, a profession such as dentistry has gone a long way from being purely doctors but as designers and sculptors of smiles. Providing smile makeovers (“Your Dentist the Artist? You Better Believe It” 1) does not only require scientific knowledge acquired in lecture halls but also the artistic intelligence and aptitude of someone who sees and understands balance and beauty. Through advances in dentistry, which resulted to the development of cosmetic dentistry, the appearance of the mouth can be enhanced or modified to more closely match the patient’s subjective concept of what is visually pleasing and beautiful.