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Cosmetic Dentistry And Facial Aesthetics

Dr Harry Singh considers why cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetic treatments complement one another so well.

The level of aesthetic requirement in dental practice has increased over the past decade, and this has made it necessary for dentists to explore cosmetic dentistry in order to satisfy the existing demand from patients.1 The truth is, the ever expanding rise of social media and celebrity gossip magazines has made the public more educated and more driven to enquire and undertake cosmetic dental procedures.

As for facial aesthetics, the trend today is away from traditional cosmetic surgery and towards less expensive, minimally- invasive procedures.2 The use of cosmetic procedures to reduce the signs of ageing has increased dramatically over the past 10 years.3

The rapidly rising demand for botulinum toxin and dermal filler treatments, together with increasingly complex injection procedures, presents a growing challenge for today’s expanding aesthetic community. According to industry estimates for 2013, a total of 1.5 million toxin and dermal filler procedures were carried out in the UK.4

Dental and facial benefits

We live in a world in which people will make snap judgments about others based upon their appearance. Numerous studies have shown the importance of a warm, attractive smile. 5 People with straight teeth are perceived as being more successful, smarter and having a more interesting love life. Further, if someone lacks confidence because of their smile, they may hide away or reduce the number of social interactions, both personally and in business.

As well as the improvement in the appearance of the smile, cosmetic dentistry has health benefits. Solving such challenges as cracked, decayed, missing or misaligned teeth can also address issues such as gum disease, temporomandibular (TMJ) problems and masticatory difficulties.

Meanwhile, many patients prefer non-surgical aesthetic procedures over surgery procedures for a number of reasons:6

  • More affordable – patients don’t have to invest in a large lump sum payment. With facial aesthetics, more regular, affordable payments are in order
  • Minimally-invasive treatment – the public are past the ‘wind tunnel’ effect that looks artificial and others will notice immediately. They want an outcome that complements their natural look
  • Recovery times and side effects – we are all busy people and we can’t take weeks off to recover from elective surgery. People want a quick, trouble-free procedure so they can resume their lifestyle as quickly as possible.

A combined offering

The commonality between cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics is that the patient is the driving force behind treatment. Both modalities are ‘want’ driven rather than ‘need’ driven. Given this ‘want’, dentists are ideally placed to deliver facial aesthetics.

Our patients trust us; we have empathy and have built rapport with them. Therefore we have the jump on offering facial aesthetics in a secure and controlled environment.

On the clinical side of things, we regularly perform injections several times a day. We are familiar with this procedure and have mastered how to give injections with minimal discomfort. Dentists are also experts in the facial anatomy and structures; we spend hours every day performing in this region.

In my experience, patients that have undertaken facial aesthetics are more inclined to explore cosmetic dental procedures and vice versa. My cosmetic dental patients were eager to explore the benefits of facial aesthetic treatments.

Treatment options

The most obvious facial aesthetics area to complement cosmetic dentistry is the lips. Patients may have perfect straight white teeth, but if the lips are thin or out of proportion then everyone’s eyes will be drawn to this imperfection and not your wonderful dentistry. Plumping up the lips either subtly (injecting the hyaluronic acid dermal filer just in the borders of the lips) or by increasing the volume (injecting in the body of the lips) will enhance their new sparkling smile.

Another common request from my dental patients was volumisation in the mid face area – notably the cheek area – where the patient may have lost some teeth. As we know, once the teeth have been lost the bone density will decrease and result in a loss of volume. The patient may not have the money to restore the gaps with implants or bridges but is concerned with the loss of volume, which they can afford to have treated.

We can apply the same logic to replace lost volume or fill deep lines in the nose to mouth (naso labial folds) and mouth to chin (marionette) lines with dermal fillers.

Now, let’s look at where we can use Botulinum Toxin to target dynamic muscles. As well as considering treatment of the upper third of the face with Botulinum Toxin Type A (the most common area requested by patients), dentists can consider specific areas that will complement any cosmetic dentistry that the patient is undertaking or will have completed.

In some cases the upper lip can rise too high and unveil a lot of gummy space (gummy smile). In these patients, you can inject a very small amount of toxin to weaken the muscles responsible for raising the lip. This results in a gentler and softer upward pull when the patient smiles, allowing all of the teeth to be seen but decreasing the amount of gum on show.

Corners of the mouth that point downwards and give a permanently sad look can also be treated with toxin. You can inject the toxin into the depressor angularis oris muscle to diminish the downward pull on the corners of the mouth, allowing the muscles that elevate the corners to take over.

In addition, it is worth mention – but beyond the scope of this article – that TMJ disorders can be treated with toxin as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, and it can be used to treat bruxism in addition to normal dental procedures.

Conclusion

We can conclude that cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics go hand-in-hand to offer your patients the best results from their cosmic dental work. And who is better positioned to offer these facial aesthetic services than the dentist?

References

1 AlJehani, Y., Baskaradoss, J., Geevarghese, A. and AlShehry, M. (2014) Current Trends in Aesthetic Dentistry. Health 6: 1941-1949

2 Goldberg, D. (2009) Breakthrough in US dermal fillers for facial soft-tissue augmentation. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy 11:. 240-247

3 Riggs, L. (2012) The Globalization of Cosmetic Surgery: Examining BRIC and Beyond. 12-14-2012. University of San Francisco Master Thesis. (http://repository.usfcaedu/thes) Accessed 1 March 2014

4 Expert Consensus on Complications of Botulinum Toxin and Dermal Filler Treatment, 2nd Edition

5 ‘Behind the Smile’ Perception Kelton Study

6 The Changing Face of Aesthetic Treatments – An ebook based on published research, clinical surveys and interviews with top international aesthetic physicians – Gladerma 2014

Dr Harry Singh BChD MFGDP has been carrying out facial aesthetics since 2002 and has treated over 3,000 cases. In his last dental practice (focused on aesthetics) he ended up performing more facial aesthetic treatments than dental treatments. Due to the very high profit margins associated with facial aesthetics, he decided to concentrate on facial aesthetics and currently has over 700 facial aesthetic patients.

He is not only a skilful facial aesthetician but also a keen marketer, which he feels is vital to attract and retain patients requesting facial aesthetic services. He has published numerous articles on the clinical and non-clinical aspects of facial aesthetics, and spoken at dental and facial aesthetics conferences on these topics.

He was shortlisted at the Private Dentistry Awards in 2012 and 2013 in the Best Facial Aesthetics Clinic category and was a finalist in 2012 at the MyFaceMyBody awards for the Best Aesthetics Clinic.

You can download a video ‘Getting Started in Facial Aesthetics’ free of charge at www.botulinumtoxinclub.co.uk.

Call 07711 731173 or email harry@botulinumtoxinclub.co.uk for more information on why you should choose BTC to help you achieve a successful aesthetic business.

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