Celebrity Dentists Good for Cosmetic Dentistry: Survey Results

October 10, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
When asked if they think celebrity cosmetic dentists are good for the profession, two out of three dentists say TV dentists are good for dentistry, according to a recent survey by The Wealthy Dentist. The majority feels that media exposure only makes the public more aware of what cosmetic dentistry can offer. The remaining 38% of dentists feel that these docs are pushing appearance over health, and it's not making dentists look good.

Some dentists see cosmetic dentistry, particularly as represented by celebrity doctors, as at odds with health care and professionalism. "We need to do what's best for the patient and not a quick fix," said one pediatric dentist. "There are more important things than the best possible smile using too white and ultra perfect teeth," agreed a California dentist. "Restoring them and keeping them is more important."

Some dentists and dental specialists are highly critical of doctors who call themselves "cosmetic dentists." (In fact, the term "cosmetic dentist" is not recognized as a dental specialty by the ADA. Many states prohibit use of the term in dental advertising.) "These individuals have NO advanced specialty training," complained a New York orthodontist. "I believe they reflect poorly on the profession," said a Florida prosthodontist. "Frequently the treatment they provide is about instant gratification and not in the long-term interest of the patient."

On the other hand, many dentists embrace cosmetic dentistry. "Appearance, self-confidence and health are inextricably bound," said an Oklahoma dentist. "There is so much we can do for people by improving their smiles." A Massachusetts dentist agreed, saying, "Patients want to be healthy, feel good, and look great. We, as doctors, need to direct them in that sequence; but having addressed the first two, why not actively promote the third leg of the triad?"

Cosmetic dentists are often seen as purely motivated by profits. "Because of the money, many dentists are performing cosmetic dentistry and put dental health on the back burner," complained a Maryland dentist. "It may put dentists in a good position in the public eye, since the public wants to look good, but it damages the professionalism of the profession." A Georgia dentist agreed, saying, "It's all about the money and prestige…Whatever happened to the best interest of the patient?"

To some dental health practitioners, anything that raises awareness of dentistry is good for the profession. "To many people, dentistry is a horrifying experience of pain and discomfort. It is great that these dentists are showing the positive aspects of dentistry," said a California dentist. "The Dr. Dorfman types and Extreme Makeover shows give a significant amount of publicity to the dental profession in general while showing the public what dentistry can do for them," said an Arizona dentist. "Promoting cosmetics along with reconstructing patients' pathologic dentition is a great public service."

Celeb docs are good advertising, or so some dentists believe. "If it gets people's attention to come into a dentist office finally, then it is a positive," opined a Pennsylvania dentist. "People gladly pay for what they want… No dentist competes with the dentist down the street; we compete with that new car, new TV set, vacation, etc.," said a Wisconsin dentist. "I am grateful for the awareness that the celebrity docs bring to the general public!"

Cosmetic dentists are often known for giving patients the perfect white smiles sported by movie stars. "I believe that most people want to look like celebrities," said a Florida dental office worker. "Since cosmetic dentistry has been exposed by celebrities, more people are inquiring about the procedures available to improve their smiles."

Other dentists are not impressed by some cosmetic dental work. "The end product for many of them looks like dentures!" complained a Texas dental marketer. "The aggressive push for esthetics turns off many health-conscious patients. The underlying assumption is that everyone wants a perfect, white smile," commented a Michigan dentist.

Some are unimpressed by the quality of care provided by some so-called cosmetic dentists. "Often the basics of diagnosis are disregarded in return for fast financial gain. Not far from my office is a 'guru cosmetic dentist,'" said a Wisconsin dentist. "I've seen several cases personally with angular bone loss that the periodontist has termed 'hopeless.' This frustrates me…and I'm sure others."

"Love it or hate, cosmetic dentistry is here to stay!" said Jim Du Molin, dental managment consultant and founder of The Wealthy Dentist. "It's a more divisive topic in the dental community than you'd expect. Since when are healthy teeth and attractive smiles mutually exclusive options?"

For additional information on this and other Wealthy Dentist surveys in the areas of dental implants, orthodontics, sedation dentistry, and dentures, as well as more dentists' comments, visit www.thewealthydentist.com/surveys.htm.

The Wealthy Dentist is a dental practice marketing and dental practice management resource featuring dental consulting expert Jim Du Molin. The site’s weekly dental surveys and newsletters are viewed by thousands of dentists across the United States and Canada. The Wealthy Dentist is a sister company of the Internet Dental Alliance, Inc. (www.internetdentalalliance.com). IDA is the largest provider of dental web sites, email newsletters and online dental directories in North America.


Jim Du Molin