Rise in demand for cosmetic dentistry
By Archita Datta Majumdar

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Cosmetic dentistry takes the concept of dental health to the next level when feeling good merges with looking good to create an overall sense of well-being. Taking a leaf out of cosmetic surgery, the venture into cosmetic dentistry has paved the way for enhanced and superior facial transformations way more than simply straightening crooked teeth.

For detractors, this is not an authentic science since it does not concern itself with treatment and cure as much as it is focused on image. Moreover, they consider it only as a marketing gimmick as the American Dental Association does not consider it a separate branch of dentistry. In reality, however, modern-day cosmetic dentists have successfully merged both these fields to offer a comprehensive treatment package to their clients.

INDUSTRY PULSE

Do you consider cosmetic dentistry to be authentic science?
  • 1. Yes
  • 2. No

There are many theories on why cosmetic dentistry is on such a rise, one of them being the strong Hollywood influence in our lives. Other schools of thought also attribute it to increasing awareness of medical advancements, along with conscious decisions to improve looks to enhance self-esteem. Whatever the reason, the focus is chiefly on image and appearance, while regular dentistry still focuses more on overall dental health, including oral hygiene, diagnosis and treatment.

As more and more people are focused on a perfectly aligned smile, the rise in demand for dental devices to enable this perfect smile has also been set in motion. The global dental devices market is slated to reach a whopping $12.9 billion by 2016 while the global dental implant market crossed the $3.2 billion mark in 2010.

Various cosmetic dentistry procedures include removing teeth stains, professional teeth whitening, reshaping teeth, filling gaps and cracks, placing crowns, veneers, bridges, dentures, dental implants and oral restorations through dental fillings. Key components include:
  • Porcelain veneers — These can take care of cracks, chips and gaps, hide stains and discoloration, permanently whiten teeth, and straighten a smile without invasive procedures. Veneers are getting more and more advanced every day. They are strong and damage resistant which makes it easy to maintain dental hygiene. Some of these are ready to fit veneers, while some are customized to perfectly complement the shape of your face and smile.

  • Porcelain crowns — These offer permanent prosthetic caps to cover damaged teeth. They not only straighten severely damaged teeth but also prevent them from further decay. It can improve the tooth's function as well as your smile in one go. Advanced technologies have made it possible to get these restorations done and enhance the appearance in a single session instead of the weeks it used to take even a few years ago.
The shifting dynamics of the industry is largely due to patientsí choices, which have moved from mere hygiene to definite image enhancement. People are more ready than ever to invest on themselves. Baby boomers with disposable incomes, the younger generation of business people who want the perfect appearance for better careers, and significant advances in the industry itself have contributed to the rise of cosmetic dentistry.

Improved appearance is directly proportional to improved self-esteem, no matter how shallow that might sound. An American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey has proven this theory with its findings, which show that almost 99.7 percent of American adults believe a good-looking smile to be an important asset that attracts the opposite sex and works for advancing careers.

The introduction and application of two significant concepts biomimetics and biocompatibility have set the stage for the future of cosmetic dentistry industry. The former is all about mimicking nature which means that the procedures hence forth will be so natural that it will be virtually impossible distinguish any dental work. The latter is devising implants that will gel perfectly with the body and work permanently without causing any harm. In both cases, the focus is on aesthetics and practicality which has made them so popular with patients across age, gender and geographical barriers.

As the science and technology of cosmetic dentistry keeps improving, new procedures are constantly being developed which are safer and more reliable, more efficient as well as cost effective.

Archita Datta Majumdar has been writing for various industries for more than 14 years. She has contributed articles to The Economic Times, the leading financial daily of India, and she loves research, business analysis and knowledge management, which paves the way for a steep learning curve.