Reality TV is teeming with makeover shows. From simple wardrobe transformations seen on “What Not to Wear” to complete body morphogenesis seen on the somewhat appalling show, “The Swan”, it seems that the idea of near instant beauty is a big hit with viewers.
On Tyra Bank’s “America’s Next Top Model”, a season favorite is always the makeover episode. Contestants get a change of hair style, a professional makeup application, and occasionally even dental work. Typically, the contestants accept the alterations to their appearance as dictated by Tyra, or they face elimination.
As a fan of the show, I’ve seen a good many contestant makeovers. The most troubling to me happened in cycle six. One of the young girls, Joanie, had an ectopically erupted #11 which everyone called her “snaggle tooth”. Additionally, she had several other misaligned teeth in both arches. Yet despite these esthetic imperfections, her dentition appeared very healthy and free from past or present decay.
When makeover day arrived, Tyra sent several of the girls to a dentist named Dr. Edgardo Falcon Jr. Several contestants had their teeth whitened, and one girl had a diastema partially closed. Joanie however had to face what I consider a dental nightmare.
For 12 hours, under local and nitrous, Joanie sat in Dr. Falcon’s dental chair. She was to have crowns made for all her anterior teeth on both arches, as well as for #12. She held her friend’s hand throughout the long night as she endured several extractions, which to my horror included permanent canines, and multiple crown preparations. Joanie left the dental office exhausted, in a great deal of pain, and with the prospect of having to do her next photo shoot just hours later with a positive attitude and a smile on her face – even though that smile was composed almost entirely of temporaries.
I personally can’t imagine justifying this “dental makeover” in which virgin teeth were extracted or cut down to mere nubs when other, much less destructive options like ortho were available. To me, this toes the line between responsible care and malpractice a bit too closely and wouldn’t sit well with my moral compass.
What do you think about these sorts of “overnight” dental makeovers? What would you do if a caries-free patient came into your office demanding her esthetics be improved immediately?
~Ashley N Phares, UConn ’13, contributing editor