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Specialty Definitions

Approved and Adopted by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.

The official definitions for Oral Medicine and Orofacial Pain are currently under review by the National Commission Board of Commissioners.

Dental Anesthesiology: Dental anesthesiology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of anesthesiology encompassing the art and science of managing pain, anxiety, and overall patient health during dental, oral, maxillofacial and adjunctive surgical or diagnostic procedures throughout the entire perioperative period. The specialty is dedicated to promoting patient safety as well as access to care for all dental patients, including the very young and patients with special health care needs. (Adopted March 2019)

Dental Public Health: Dental public health is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts. It is the form of dental practice that serves the community as a patient rather than the individual. It is concerned with the dental health education of the public, using applied dental research and the administration of group dental care programs as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases on a community basis. (Adopted May 2018)

Endodontics: Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that is concerned with the morphology, physiology, and pathology of the human dental pulp and periradicular tissues. The study and practice of endodontics encompasses the basic and clinical sciences including biology of the normal pulp, the etiology, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions. (Adopted May 2018)

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is a science that investigates the causes, processes, and effects of these diseases. The practice of oral pathology includes research and diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical, or other examinations. (Adopted May 2018)

Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: Oral and maxillofacial radiology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of radiology concerned with the production and interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region. (Adopted May 2018)

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of dentistry that includes the diagnosis and surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. (Adopted May 2018)

Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is the dental specialty that includes the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the developing or mature orofacial structures. (Adopted May 2018)

Pediatric Dentistry: Pediatric dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. (Adopted May 2018)

Periodontics: Periodontics is that specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function, and esthetics of these structures and tissues. (Adopted May 2018)

Prosthodontics: Prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes. (Adopted May 2018)

The Impact of Teeth on Social Perception

It makes sense to equate one’s oral health to their general hygiene or grooming. It’s like when a person comes in for a job interview looking prim and proper, they’re more likely to put a better impression on the employer. On the other hand, someone who comes in in their office attire with hair unbrushed, nails untrimmed, and the like, they’re likely to be rejected.

Although the social perception of teeth has largely evolved over time, with people appreciating straight, white, clean teeth, many still directly link the condition of one’s teeth to their identity, especially amidst today’s bigger cultural, social, and biological trends. Class difference has come out as an emerging pattern associated with good teeth, as crooked, misaligned teeth with visible dental decay are seen as an outcome of lack of motivation to develop oneself. This widely perpetuates the link between dental outlook and oral health and their correlation to social success. It is possible that in settings like these, imperfect teeth might imply a general lack of responsibility and self-control, which again lies outside of the conformity of fitness — something which is widely seen as an attractive trait.

Social Expectations on the Appearance of Teeth

People who do not fit into the notion of a good set of teeth might have the same prejudice many employers have unknowingly. In multinational companies, the employees are seen to represent the organization and their physical appearance is greatly emphasized. It might not be a conversation made out loud but there is an expectation of sorts to look a certain way and be presentable in all ways. And while some might disagree and argue that one’s value in their workplace doesn’t lie solely on how they look, it is a significant contributing factor in large firms or certain professions like customer service, sales, or international relations and law to name a few.

Social and Physical Effects of Dental Problems

Numerous studies show that being stereotyped by one’s peers at adolescence and becoming an outcast lead to low self-esteem issues and social anxiety. These are carried in later life into their professional life and personality.In addition to the mental repercussions, dental disease also has systemic implications, with diabetes and respiratory disease being on the upfront.

The patterns and general trends in the 21st century arising from social stigmas and perceptions have all narrowed down to a different and perhaps better world.Oral and systemic health are interlinked, so societal conformity isn’t the only thing to consider here.We must also have a general awareness of oral health as a whole and its importance in today’s world.

Your smile is often the first thing that people notice about you, and it can have a significant impact on how you are perceived by others. By extension, your teeth play a crucial role in the appearance of your smile, and so their condition can affect how others perceive you in social situations.

Some Ways Teeth Can Influence Social Perception

  1. Confidence: Healthy and well-maintained teeth can give you the confidence to smile and interact with others. People with missing or damaged teeth may feel self-conscious and may be less likely to engage in social situations.
  1. Attractiveness: Studies have shown that people with straight, white teeth are perceived as more attractive than those with crooked or discolored teeth. A bright, healthy smile can make you appear more youthful and vibrant.
  1. Success: Your teeth can also influence how successful you are perceived to be. People with a nice smile are often seen as more successful and trustworthy. This is because a healthy smile is associated with good health and hygiene, which are desirable traits in the workplace and in social situations.
  1. Approachability: A friendly smile can make you appear more approachable and likeable. People are often more likely to engage with someone who appears open and welcoming.

Some Ways to Improve Your Smile

If you are unhappy with your teeth or feel that they are impacting your social perception, there are several options available to improve their appearance. These include:

  1. Teeth whitening: This is a non-invasive procedure that can remove stains and discoloration from your teeth, giving you a brighter, more youthful smile.
  1. Orthodontics: Braces or clear aligners can help to straighten crooked teeth and correct bite issues, improving the appearance and functionality of your teeth.
  1. Dental veneers: These are thin shells that are placed over the front of your teeth, masking imperfections and improving their appearance.
  1. Dental implants: If you have missing teeth, dental implants can be used to replace them, improving your smile and restoring functionality.

Your teeth can have a significant impact on how others perceive you in social situations. If you are unhappy with your teeth, there are several options available to improve their appearance and boost your confidence. Talk to our dentist to learn more about the options that are available to you.

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