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Article: Volume 47 Number 1 Page 43 - January 2020

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  Dental Update 474: 43-50

Orthodontics:  Arthodontics: the Search for ‘Ultimate Beauty’ in Philosophy, Classicism and Orthodontics

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Abstract: The nature of beauty is one of the most imperishable and controversial themes in Western philosophy, and is a fundamental issue in philosophical aesthetics. Beauty has classically been counted among the ultimate values, with goodness, truth and justice. It is a primary theme among ancient Greek, Hellenistic and Medieval philosophers. The origins of clinical facial aesthetic analysis stem from the theoretical musings and introspection of pioneering artists and sculptors, stretching back to antiquity. The application of such analyses in clinical practice has been modified in accordance with changing cultural perceptions. Nonetheless, the work of the great artists and sculptors of past ages remains inherent in our ability to diagnose variations in facial appearance accurately.

Clinical relevance: Understanding the philosophical, artistic and clinical basis of facial harmony is essential to diagnose and treat dental patients in general, and orthodontic patients in particular.

Author notes: Aslam Alkadhimi, BDentSc(Hons), MClinDent (Distinction), MFD(RCSI), Orthodontic Specialist Registrar, University College London, Eastman Dental Institute, London and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (email: and Farnaz Motamedi, BDS, MClinDent (Distinction), MFDS RCSEd, Orthodontic Specialist Registrar, University College London, Eastman Dental Hospital, University College London NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

Objective: To explore approaches to the theories of beauty and attempt to link philosophy and classicism to clinical orthodontics.

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