Are you a facial estheticsodontist?

It’s probably not a term you’ve heard before, but every dentist is also a facial estheticsodontist.

Every reader certainly knows what the suffix “dontist” means, as used in the words endodontist, periodontist and orthodontist.

Imagine my amazement when I came to the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE) course on Botox Therapy for Every Dental Practice, which I led with outstanding AAFE faculty at this past American Dental Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta (the 2018 ADA Annual Meeting is in Hawaii - see you there!). The sign outside the designated room identifying the AAFE course took the opportunity to coin a brand-new phrase I had never seen before - facial estheticsodontist.

I am not sure how this came about, but this is the term as it was posted on the sign outside the room. At the start of the course, I congratulated the attendees of the course as being the first ever group of facial estheticsodontists being trained by the AAFE at an ADA Annual Meeting. This is just one of the dozens of AAFE live patient training courses gives each year and it is most certainly the first meeting to ever coin the phrase “facial estheticsodontist.”

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In truth, every dentist is a facial estheticsodontist, whether they realize it or not - and has always been. In over 40 years of taking and giving different dental continuing education courses, lip service (pun intended) has been given to how dental treatment affects facial esthetics. You and I have been to removable prosthodontics courses that have used the term “dental facelift” when the vertical is open on these cases. Orthodontists and general dentists who perform minor and comprehensive orthodontics can significantly alter the facial esthetics of a patient, which may or may not be entirely desirable to each individual patient. 

Implant dentistry has made a huge impact in patients’ lives, not only with the function of teeth, but also with dental and facial esthetics. We have the opportunity to fully restore dentitions with fixed alternatives like never before. With implants, removable prosthodontics and orthodontics, there will be additional lip support and lower facial support. As practitioners, we can sometimes control the outcome, but sometimes it is a challenge - the final facial esthetic result may not be good enough for the patient. 

Teeth vs. smile 

In nearly every esthetic dentistry course that I have taken or given, we hear this concept of how to talk to patients about more comprehensive esthetic dental treatment: “You know, Mrs. Jones, if I treat these four teeth with porcelain veneers, you will have good-looking teeth but not a great-looking smile. If I treat 10-28 teeth with porcelain veneers, then you will have a great-looking smile!” It sounds like we have all been facial estheticsodontists for a long time. 

Here is the truth - whether it is a case of a few simple tooth colored restorations, 10 porcelain veneers, restoring a single anterior tooth with an implant or a full-mouth implant reconstruction, the only thing accomplished is giving people great-looking teeth and not a great-looking smile. By only treating the hard tissues inside the mouth, even if you are changing the facial and lip support to some degree, that still does not translate alone into giving people a great-looking smile. A great-looking smile includes not only the teeth but also all of the soft tissue of the face. Dental esthetics is facial esthetics and facial esthetics is dental esthetics! 

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What it takes

To be a true facial estheticsodontist, you need all the skills and education to not only treat teeth but also to treat the oral and maxillofacial areas and really give patients great-looking smiles with non-surgical, minimally invasive treatments such as Botox, dermal fillers and PDO Threadlifts. This is exactly what dental professionals who attend AAFE live patient training courses are able to accomplish, once they have been properly trained in these skills that will last for the lifetime of their careers. The thousands of AAFE dental professional members are now able to achieve better treatment outcomes than ever before for dento-facial esthetics and also for TMJ and orofacial pain therapy.

It is time for you to start your journey with the AAFE and get trained in the use of Botox, dermal fillers and PDO Threadlifts. These are the most popular esthetic services that patients want and are already getting somewhere else - why not at your office? Become an AAFE facial estheticsodontist today!

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