When looking up different resource on dental esthetics I came up with my topic. My topic Is The Perception of dental esthetics in Africa. I found numerous information. Three articles that stuck out the most were based on the oral health in South Africa and how teeth were developed. In the early stages of life many african use to shave their teeth. This was a sign of what tribe they belong to and define them as a person. In article two people discus the perceptions of beauty. What it really meant to them they did many surveys in schools. In Africa their teeth are very important to them. Beauty has a wide spectrum to it and Africa shares it different views.
In the field of dentistry, it is important that dental professionals aquire cross-cultural sensitivity to better understand dental aesthetics. Many cultures of the world may consider something attractive in the teeth while other cultures may think it not to be attractive. In world of today, white teeth is popular aestheticly and any other color besides white is considered to be not as attractive. Could you imagine anyone disagreeing? This was the case an Ancient Japan where the Japanese would color their teeth black. As time progressed, the reasons why they colored their teeth black had changed form time to time but one major reason why throughout the practice was beacause they thought it was very attractive and made them look better. Learning about this practice of teeth blackening by the Ancient Japanese is the reason why it is important for dental professionals aquire cross-cultural sensitivity to better understand dental aesthetics and in the end become better professionals in their careers.
America is so bent on the thought that straight, white teeth defines perfect beautiful teeth. In America we are obsessed with having straight, pearly white teeth. But how would you feel if you were told your teeth were those of an untamable, savage animal, or a demon? The qualities that make you feel your teeth appear beautiful in the American culture are the same features that would have made you appear evil and wild in various parts of Asia. In the Asian Culture they would blacken their teeth for various reasons. Some countries did it because they believed it was the cause of ones sex appeal, other countries did it as a way to represent the change of a woman from childhood to adulthood making it known that they were ready for marriage, and some Asian Countries blackened their teeth because they believed that the natural teeth resembled those of an animal. It made them wild, evil and demon like. One thing that remained constant between each country was that natural teeth were not desirable to them. They blackened their teeth in many ways using natural products. It is the complete opposite belief of our modern day society however its what they did and what some still continue to do.
For thousands of years Dental Aesthetics has been an important outlook in society. Dental aesthetics can be traced all the way back to the major ancient societies like the Mayans. Even in these ancient eras, the teeth have always been a way of expressing someone’s religious beliefs. The dental aesthetics of the Mayans are closely related to the Americans in that the alterations that the Mayans used to perform on their teeth were mostly used as a sign of beauty and wealth. The modern views of teeth alteration are for the same views as the Mayans in that the perfect teeth are usually attained by the wealthy and beautiful.
Dental aesthetics across Africa and the United Sates are broadly different and ask for sensitive understanding. Did you know in parts of Africa long teeth are carved because it represents anger and jealousy? It is crucial that we understand the cultural difference that exists in teeth in Africa because we often prejudge or misunderstand their beauty. Tooth mutilations in Africa were both for aesthetic purposes and expressed superiority between males and females. Females with long teeth in Africa would have to carve their teeth to a shorter proportion to males because it was perceived as disrespectful. Carved teeth in Africa also represents patience, conformity, patience, and a form of dominance. Comparing African aesthetic to the United States shows Americans have a different view on dental beauty. With cultural understand and sensitivity to dental aesthetics we can become more accepting and knowledgeable.
Everyone has their own perception as to what’s acceptable in everyday life. Many people believe that outside of the United States, people of specific ethnic minorities have poor oral health. What people fail to realize is that being a part of an ethnic minority group does not always lead a person to having poor oral health. Culture is a widespread of actions or beliefs to different groups of people that survive based on the behavioral norms and interpersonal relationships for proper living. Take the Balinese people for example; they consider tooth filing beautifying and a humanizing right, that may seem beautiful for them, but ugly to other different cultures. Tooth filing is a ceremony they perform to ensure the smooth transition of the soul from birth through death and reincarnation. To believe that big, straight, white teeth represent a beautiful smile is a narrow perspective. Aesthetic dentistry is to please the patient, not the dentist, which is related to the principle that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. What may seem to one person that beauty and esthetics is a blend of symmetry and proportion, another can argue that unaesthetic or unattractive things may lack symmetry and have poor proportion.
Tooth Morphology Abstract
Though it is common practice in the western hemisphere to cosmetically whiten teeth, another aesthetic often preferred in Southeastern Asia and the Pacific islands is to darken the teeth. Tooth darkening dates back nearly 3,000 years, and has not only been practiced as a cosmetic enhancement, but it also serves as a symbol of the wearer’s spirituality. The primary method of darkening the teeth involves the chewing of a leaf-nut mixture, known as trau-cau. Continued chewing of trau-cau stains the teeth, resulting in the desired blackening effect. Another method of darkening the teeth is to paint the teeth with black lacquer, known in Japan as Ohaguro. Ohaguro has since been banned in Japan, but it is still practiced in areas of Southeast Asia as an alternative to traditional trau-cau chewing.
Tooth modification was done in Asia and Africa for cultural, religious and identification reason. Tooth blackening (Ohaguro) in Japan was a symbol of maturity and beauty. they also believed tooth blackening prevent from tooth decay. In Bangladesh, India, Vietnam tooth was darken by betel nut. Betel nut is more like a tobacco which leaves stained on the tooth. A betel chew is made up of several ingredients: betel leaf, slivers of areca palm nut and a bit of lime paste. The pieces of nut covered with lime paste are wrapped in a leaf of the betel pepper vine. In Africa nowadays they pull out maxillary four incisors (both central and lateral) for fashion in Cape Town. Years ago they would grind their teeth giving them a “v” shape; which was very painful. It was done for many reasons; one is to child should show no pain when entering to adulthood. Some did it for tribe identification and some sacrifice for religion.
Dental cosmetics and tourism in Istanbul, Turkey
Dentistry has been linked with other “medical combos” (dental, medical and other Health related departments in “one” center or building) in the past but recently tourism has been introduced. A package with both dental work and tourism with a combined price lower than the cost to have only dental work done in most countries. Turkey is one of the fast growing places for this type of package. The difference between Turkey and America is that in America for example a root canal would cost you say $400 where in Turkey you get the same treatment plus you also get to tour the city at a lower cost.
Since we already know and understand what “beautiful teeth” are in America, why not learn about aesthetically beautiful teeth in other cultures? The definition of “beautiful” varies from person to person, as well as from culture to culture. Other than beauty, there may be deeper meaning to what teeth should look like around the world. For instance, looking back at the Mayan civilization, many types of teeth mutilations were practiced. The mutilations included teeth filing, cross-hatching patterns on facial surfaces, incrustations, along with shaping of the teeth. The Mayan modified their teeth for cosmetic and tribal reasons, but the modifications had many benefits. These modifications became restorations of the teeth, which can help us relate to some of the restorations still used today in modern dentistry.
Mayan Dental Aesthetics