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Aerodynamic Dentistry: Nurturing Nature
By: Nicolas Davis, DDS
Posted: May 1, 2006
The term cosmetic is all about appearance. The appearance of faces and smiles on pop culture idols often starts or ends trends in mainstream society. “You see those pop culture idols on the cover of People magazine, or you see them at the Academy Awards. They are all flashing their bright smiles,” said Nicholas Davis, DDS, president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He added that television shows such as Extreme Makeover in the United States expose the consumer to options and treatments available to them—from tooth bleaching and veneers to gum lifts and frenectomies*. “Companies are trying to feed off of this and we’re seeing it spread into consumer products like whitening strips and bleaching toothpastes and mouthwashes.”
Davis explained that the AACD aims to help the general dentist understand that function is important, but aesthetics go along with function. The cosmetics and cosmetic dentistry industries are closely linked by their basic aesthetic purposes and by pop culture trends.
The word natural serves an array of marketing purposes on product labels, from expressing a “look” to defining levels of ingredient processing. The trend for seeking natural things is long-lived and perpetuated by a general perception that natural means better. Thus, department stores continue to offer mineral- and plant-based products and makeup that presents a natural appearance.
In the same school of thought, the desire for natural has emerged in cosmetic dentistry. Historically, silver was used for dental fillings, according to Davis. However, the industry has seen a trend toward upgrading to resin or porcelain fillings. “The very first crowns were metallic,” explained Davis. “Then we started using gold, then porcelain baked on the gold, and now we’re using all ceramic.” He added that probably the biggest trend will be to go completely metal-free. “From all projections, within five or 10 years, more ceramic restorations will be done each year than metal restorations.”
With the baby boomer generation fighting to hang on to its youth, tooth whitening has become the number one procedure requested.