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Dentistry – science or art?

Saif Nasser ponders on this philosophical question

There are those that claim dentistry is purely a science. Based on scientific principles and taught within narrow confines, the volumes of scientific literature available are certainly immense. Everything has been studied, reviewed and meta-analysed; enough documentation to consume a mini rainforest! But what about the actual mechanical instrumentation and physical crafting itself that consumes most of our time? My belief… is that the human dentition and great dentistry is the successful union of both science and art, producing something not only incredibly efficient in its function but also aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps science and art are not such distant cousins after all

  Less science and more an advanced form of carpentry, it seems a separate entity from the core science underlying it. For the sake of our philosophical discussion let us call this careful labour and craft by another name – art. For art and craft are often used in conjunction.


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