A Positive Direction for Modern Dentistry

By Dr. Iana


In the late 1990s, the renowned psychologist Martin Seligman announced a new direction for his profession as the “theme” of his tenure as president of the American Psychological Association. He called it positive psychology, which he defined as “the study of what constitutes the pleasant life, the engaged life, and the meaningful life.”

Steeped in the study and practice of what constitutes “The Good Life” – which dates back until at least the time of Aristotle – positive psychology stands in stark contrast to 20th-century psychotherapy which largely focused on the past in a patient’s life. While allowing that traditional trauma-focused psychotherapy has its place, Seligman’s purview is more forward-focused: the study of practical habits and behavior that patients can master to make life healthier, happier, and, ultimately, more meaningful.

“Just as psychology has reoriented itself from strictly focusing on the past, dentistry has begun redirecting itself to meet the positive, forward-looking needs of patients.”

Today, positive psychology is a rich and diverse movement, comprising many kinds of research and therapeutic practices. More importantly, it has spawned similar forward-looking models in other fields such as general medicine, communications, and soon – I am betting – modern dentistry.

From where I sit, as the owner of a new dental practice in one of the nation’s most innovative cities, the field of dentistry is long overdue for a paradigm shift. Just as psychology has reoriented itself from strictly focusing on the past, dentistry has begun redirecting itself to meet the positive forward-looking needs of patients. More people today are looking at the aesthetic benefits of good dental care. And a great number of people are also beginning to understand the lasting psychological benefits of possessing an authentic, beautiful smile. As I profess on our “about” page, a “smile projects vibrance, confidence, authenticity – openness to life’s possibilities. It’s not just about physical health and wellness. It’s about your inner beauty, and putting your true self forward.”

Glint is committed to the art and science of the smile. Understanding that, we have designed our practice to not only incorporate the soft skills of attending to and caring for the needs of our patients, but to introduce, where appropriate, innovations in technology and dental science.

We are continually learning and contributing to the evolution of modern dentistry, and we will share what we know with our patients as well as the public on this blog. If you would like to keep apprised, let us know so we can add you to our blog’s monthly newsletter. Think of it as a fun, monthly dose of positive news.

Iana Elledge
DMD Dentistry
Tufts University School of Dentistry
Member: ADA, TDA, AACD