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An improved smile: Negotiating norms and ideals in orthodontic treatment with fixed appliance
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0587-3399
2012 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

More than every fourth Swedish adolescent undergo orthodontic treatment to correct malocclusion. The treatment is subsidized by the state before the age of 20. Aesthetical reasons and enhancement of life are the main offers. This ongoing ethnographic study focuses on the interaction between adolescents, parents, orthodontists and assistants during three activities that precede a possible treatment with fixed appliance; consultation, examination and information. It aims to understand how aesthetical norms are discussed and negotiated, how deviation of the bite is evaluated, and how adolescents, parents, orthodontists and material representations interact.A combination of theoretical perspectives from Science and Technology Studies and medical sociology/anthropology are used in order to understand clinical practice as collaboration and interaction between practitioners and patients. Drawing from childhood studies I also explore the young patients as social actors, that both influence and are influenced by clinical and technical practices, when bodily deviations are observed and corrected. The initial analyses show that the consultation is a quick evaluation of the deviation. The adolescents negotiate the necessity of the treatment and some ask for a second opinion when denied treatment. Examination, on the other hand, does not include negotiations, but is embedded in many organizational routines. The deviation is visualized in a number of ways which includes procedures that are bodily intrusive and sometimes painful. Finally, the information is an agreement of the road to a future bite. In front of the computer the patient, a parent and the orthodontist discuss all visualizations and imagine the future bite.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85173OAI: diva2:565731
British Sociology Association Medical Sociology Annual Conference, 5-7 September 2012, University of Leicester, UK
Available from: 2012-11-08 Created: 2012-11-08 Last updated: 2015-06-29

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Wickström, Anette
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Arts and HumanitiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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ReferencesLink to record
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