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"I hope I get movie-star teeth": Doing the exceptional normal in orthodontic practice for young people
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0587-3399
2015 (English)In: Medical Anthropology Quarterly, ISSN 0745-5194, E-ISSN 1548-1387Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Orthodontics offer young peole the chance to improve their bite and adjust their appearances. The most common reasons for orthodontic treatment concern general dentists', parents' or children's dissatisfaction with the esthetics of the bite. My aim is to analyze how esthetic norms are 'done' during three activities preceding possible treatment with fixed appliances. The evaluation indexes signal definitiveness and are the essential grounds for decision-making. In parallel, practitioners and patients refer to self-perceived satisfaction with appearances. Visualizations of divergences and the improved future bite become part of an interactive process that upholds what I conceptualize as 'the exceptional normal'. Insights into thie process contribute to a better understanding of how medical practices intended to measure and safeguard children's and young people's health at the same time mobilize patient to look and feel better. The article is based on an ethnographic study at two orthodontic clinics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malden, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.
Keyword [en]
orthodontics, ethnography, interactive process, young people, the exceptional normal
National Category
Other Social Sciences Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-119855DOI: 10.1111/maq.12228PubMedID: 26046340OAI: diva2:827481
Ett förbättrat leende, Vetenskapsrådet projekt
Swedish Research Council, Dnr 421-2012-992
Available from: 2015-06-27 Created: 2015-06-27 Last updated: 2016-06-07Bibliographically approved

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Wickström, Anette
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