Aesthetics On Trial

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Aesthetics On Trial

One of the ways to gain attention in an age of information explosion is to condemn and moralise – preferably something which has been sensationalised. Doing an Amos Yee helps too. Aesthetics is one of those things that often draw flak for a variety of reasons.

1. The horrible adverse effects.
2. The “addiction” that it induces in immature individuals (and even the supposedly mature).
3. The narcissism that it cultivates in the wannabes.
4. The shallowness and arrogance of folks who receive the service (in social media).
5. The excesses and flamboyance of those who provide the service.
6. The “needless” pain “suffered” and administered.
7. The hideousness of those who don’t know when to stop.

The flamboyance of some of the successful practitioners notwithstanding, they often need to be careful not to end up as targets for criticism within the fraternity. Beauticians with a medical degree, they are often called and you’ll be surprised that this sort of moralising doesn’t even suggest snobbery in the minds of the detractors. Don’t beauticians improve the psychological well-being of their customers and make society a lot happier than it would be without them?

I recently attended a lecture in which the speaker asked the audience to judge whether it is ethical for dentists to focus on purely aesthetic procedures. The way the question was phrased left us little choice but to judge that it is not all right.

Ethical or unethical? Doesn’t it depend more on the circumstances than on the treatment itself? Is dental implantology ethical? Is charity work ethical when there is fraud and politicking involved? The devil is in the details.

Green Course
In a First World country, the organiser advertises free Botox and filler injections on social media. A bunch of office ladies turn up and the course participants learn to inject these products under the supervision of a plastic surgeon. The office ladies take selfies and proudly upload them on Instagram and Facebook.

Red Course
In a Third World country, the organiser gathers a bunch of edentulous farmers from the countryside to undergo implant surgery performed by course participants supervised by an oral surgeon. The trainees go back to their clinics to practise implant dentistry. The farmers go home with swollen cheeks, sleeping implants and a sack of rice for compensation.

Which course is more ethical? Which one gives you a bad taste in your mouth? But hey, why not evil aesthetics?

Someone I know has been suffering from clinical depression for years after she lost her loved ones. She seemed to have recovered recently. How could I tell? Well, she dyed her hair and she wanted new dentures. Beauty is not always skin deep. It may be a powerful indicator and promoter of recovery from a seemingly intractable medical condition. Who is being shallow and superficial now?


Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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No Big Deal

Are big teeth ugly? That’s the impression that many denture wearers give me. They want their teeth really tiny and really white – preferably just 1mm showing when they smile. Actually, they don’t smile a lot. That’s one issue we have here in “happy” but uptight Singapore. Anyway, let’s move over to Hongkong where photographer Ricky Tang is featuring some gorgeous pictures of model Coco. And she has big teeth.

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Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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Sleepless Saturdays

茹之夜

茹之夜


Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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Love Is Not Just Blind

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I walked into the clinic tonight and spotted a couple lounging – actually cuddling on the seat in the waiting area. He’s a lucky guy with a gorgeous 美眉. Unluckily, however, he needed a root canal. Even less fortunate was yours toothfully who had to do a root canal for a guy who smelled like a cadaver from anatomy class. Gosh, his body odour was suffocating. At times like this, I try to shift my mind to something more pleasant – like that 美眉 outside. How could she … That was when it dawned on me that love doesn’t just make you blind. It can even make you lose your sense of smell and cuddle with a guy who smells like a cadaver (until the spell is broken). Nevertheless, it’s wonderful to note that in this age of cynicism, our young people still believe in love. I still hope he showered and changed his shirt after the root canal and I think I should have included showering as a post-operative instruction.

Emma with the rose. London


Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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Moody Monday

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Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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Orange Chin

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It’s usually not something you would readily notice unless she purses her lips. The chin takes on the appearance of orange peel. Some call it “peau orange chin”. The solution is botox. Injected into the mentalis muscle of the chin, it can weaken the muscle and reduce the appearance of “orange chin”.


Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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Moody Monday

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Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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Chinese Plastic Tourists

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In 2014, 56,000 Chinese tourists visited South Korea for plastic surgery procedures, an increase of 45 per cent from 25,400 in 2013.

According to industry insiders, the most popular requests for Chinese patients are double eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, fat grafts or transplants, facelifts and double jaw surgery to give a sharper chin.

Often, these patients get all their surgeries done at once. According to Korean plastic surgeons, mainland Chinese patients request for the same surgeries as their local patients. However, they desire different outcomes. Interestingly, many China patients do not want the Korean look. While Korean patients are more conservative, wishing only to enhance their features, China patients want much bigger eyes and taller noses that emulate Western beauties.

In recent years, plastic surgery clinics have sprung up all over China. However, standards vary greatly. Korea is still the trusted destination for such procedures.


Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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Moody Monday

May you have a great start to the week. Smile and stay beautiful.


Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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End Of An Era

In December last year, the father of the modern dental implant Per Ingvar Branemark died at the age of 85 in his hometown of Gothernburg, Sweden.

Before Branemark, scientists thought that metallic implants stayed in place because of mechanical retention. This means that implants must be anchored to wide areas of bone with multiple screws. Branemark and his team performed experiments on rabbits. They found that titanium oculars placed into the lower leg bones of rabbits could not be removed from the bones after a period of healing. This phenomenon was named osseointegration. With this understanding, dental implants could be as small as the root of a tooth.

Though many European dentists still swear by it, the design of the original Branemark system with its external hex, is probably outdated. Newer designs are more forgiving and easy to use. In spite of that, Prof Branemark will be remembered and respected as a pioneer in this field of dentistry by future generations of dentists.


Dental Phobia by Chan Joon Yee

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