Dentist as Artist and Scientist

Dentists are no longer nerds in lab coats. Their training is more far-reaching than lecturing you on plaque and their work combines many artful skills. “Dentists detect diseases of the mouth; because they see their patients regularly, they are often the first to detect problems, from gingivitis to cancer and hypertension,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental office.

Best_DentistIn addition to detecting diseases they also diagnose problems involving teeth, tongue, gums and jaws. After the diagnosis, which can use sophisticated imaging tools, dentists offer a variety of treatment choices.

Once the treatment is selected, your dentist will deal with esthetic concerns, combining the art and science of cosmetic work. Your dentist will match the color of your existing teeth to new veneers, crowns and onlays, creating a natural-looking smile.

For crowns, the original shape is impressed by your dentist, then sent to the lab to finish. The work is exacting and must be carefully done. It is the work of an artist, and is very similar in talent to creating a bronze sculpture. The tooth must not only look beautiful, but fit to very precise measurements.

Once the tooth comes back from the lab, your dentist has to carefully place the crown into your mouth with a natural, precision fit so it feels comfortable. Engineering and artistry combine to give you not only a wonderful smile, but also a tooth that helps you chew your food and support your facial structure.

When a dentist performs laser surgery or the surgery of implants, you will benefit from the precision of science and the planning of an artful final result. “A pleasing esthetic result requires both problem-solving skills and creativity,” says Dr. Ford. “A patient’s vision has to be translated into steps that each lead toward a precise fit and pleasing look,” she adds.

The American Dental Association (ADA) lists “using artistic and science skills” as a major reason for students to consider a career in dentistry.

Your dentist is not just a well-trained professional, but also a skilled and talented artist whose skilled hands create a healthy mouth and a happy smile.

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