A recent dental journal article stated that “Now that the teeth are looking much better aesthetically, isn’t it time to consider the perioral areas around the smile? If the teeth look great but we ignore the rest of the face, then we have really limited what we can accomplish with aesthetic dentistry.” The author goes on to advocate that dentists learn to place dermal fillers to plump out lips and smooth out facial wrinkles around the mouth. The author concludes his article by stating that the dentist is the “healthcare professional of choice” to deliver such procedures.
So what do you think? I think this is pushing the envelope too far (an apt metaphor here). The American Dental Association defines dentistry as “the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body; provided by a dentist, within the scope of his/her education, training and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law.”
What’s interesting is that this definition of dentistry is vague enough to include the placement of dermal fillers by dentists. But it also should be noted that the statement was adopted by the ADA House of Delegates in 1997. The dental profession has certainly changed a lot since then! An updated definition is needed. For the present, this Long Island dentist will keep her distance from dermal fillers, and she will focus on the teeth and their supporting structures – where I believe the dental focus should be.