Aesthetic dentistry, the fastest growing segment of dental care, will continue its tremendous growth in the future not only because more dentists offer cosmetic dental services in their practices, but more importantly because patients desperately want it.
"Aesthetic dentistry will continue to flourish because people are living longer, seeking a higher quality of life and they want these services," says Larry Rosenthal, D.D.S., the director of the New York Group for Aesthetic Dentistry, New York City. "In addition, people have discovered that dentists have something to offer that plastic surgeons have offered for years: self-esteem and beautification. We have the simplest, fastest, least painful procedure to enhance a person's looks. We can change people's smiles in one day to a week; plastic surgery may take several months to heal."
Dr. Rosenthal says that dentistry is the first option that should be explored as the face begins to alter due to changes caused by aging. "The lower third of the face gradually shrinks as you get older, and by revitalizing this area, which includes the mouth, aesthetic dentistry can make patients look 10 years younger," he says. "The best part is that when patients have dental work, their friends ask them what they did to themselves, not ‘Who did your teeth?' They can't identify the improvement but they know that something happened to make this person look better and younger."
Many people, says Dr. Rosenthal, make judgments within seconds of meeting another person, and they base their opinions on the smile and the overall appearance of the mouth.
"We see the lips, teeth and smile even before we notice the eyes," he says. That's why a beautiful smile is so important. The lips serve as the curtain; the gums are the scenery; and the teeth are the actors. When everything is in harmony, people seem to have enhanced confidence and self-esteem."
Dr. Rosenthal says that now is a very good time to be a dentist. "There is so much more we can do for our patients now," he concludes. "New technologies have revolutionized the way in which aesthetic dentistry is provided. When we started working in this arena in the early 1980s, the materials were satisfactory, but great advantages were achieved in the following 10 years.
Today's materials are much better and the computer imager and intraoral camera has become the standard tool in showing patients the possibilities. Aesthetic procedures are quick, provide immediate results and, for the most part, are not invasive. Plus there is immediate gratification not just for the patient, but for the dentist who can really get satisfaction by helping patients achieve a great smile. It's definitely a good time to be a dentist."
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