A Treatise on Dental Aesthetics

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    Not to snark too hard matt but I noticed that all your examples are in the NYC orbit. Frankly I don’t know if this qualifies as a phenomena. No one is better than the good peeps of NYC for crapping on a cracker and calling it art. I feel free to observe this being half New Yorker myself.Report

  2. Avatar Matthew Schmitz says:

    I advocate a more mild form of NYC exceptionalism. Once I was driving through Lincoln, Nebraska, capital of my home state, and saw (roughly) JESUS IS LORD BODY SHOP AND AUTO REPAIR not far from Christ is King Church. You won’t see such names in most parts of Manhattan, but Lincoln does have Halsted Dental Aesthetics and Advanced Dental Concepts.Report

  3. While I think you’re seeing service providers responding to marketplace preferences here, I’d sign off on the idea that dentists are more eager than other professionals to relabel themselves for marketing purposes.

    One of the unresearched, unverified statistics floating around my law office is that dentists have the lowest or nearly the lowest self-esteem of most professionals, and among the highest suicide rates. The armchair psychology reason proffered to explain this is that dentists must of necessity invade the personal space of their patients and inflict pain (or at least discomfort) in order to ply their trade, and that this takes a psychic toll on the practicioner. My experience with dentists as clients is that indeed there are frequently some self-esteem issues, which are either overcompensated in the form of some well-recongized flavors of narcissism, or allowed to take over in the form of ceding operational control of their offices to domineering staffers. (Not to say that lawyers don’t sometimes suffer from the same things, of course.)

    So it could be that the reason a “dentist” is so willing to abandon that label is the ability to adopt a different psychological attitude about her work. But mainly, I think you’re seeing dentists noting that their patients don’t like going to the dentist but do like the feeling of doing something about their physical attractiveness, and the use of labels caters to that cocktail of vanity and apprehension.Report

  4. Avatar sidereal says:

    It has significantly less to do with the self-esteem of DDSs and more to do with the competitive marketplace. The categories of procedures from which dentists (as distinct from endodontists, orthodontists, and other specialists) have historically derived revenue are a) bi-annual cleanings and b) fillings. As dental health in general improves and filling technology improves (significantly reducing cracking and other problems that require replacement), the number of fillings is going down.

    Tooth-whitening, straightening, and other aesthetic modifications, on the other hand, are always in demand and you can charge a premium for them without generating ill will in the market because they’re voluntary procedures.Report

    • Avatar Matthew Schmitz in reply to sidereal says:

      Quite right that dentists are responding to marketplace pressures, but the force that inspires them to adopt such silly names as (in yet another case) “A Dental Concept” is a cultural one that honors abstract professions over simple crafts. My argument implicit in this post is that all professions should be understood, in some way, as humble crafts.Report

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