Americans have a worldwide reputation for being confident and having a generally nice opinion of themselves. The notoriety of the country’s self-image isn’t without cause; a YouGov poll found that Americans are indeed kinder to themselves in self-assessments than the British, Germans, or the Chinese. For example, 60% of Americans would say they’re very friendly, compared to 54% of Brits. Forty-seven percent would say they’re very intelligent, compared to 24% of the Chinese.
While their results are still the highest of all the nations surveyed, only 35% of Americans would say they’re very confident, and only 15% would say that they’re attractive. Building confidence in oneself and working on one’s attractiveness can be time-consuming, expensive, and just generally difficult, and people can be lost on where to start. For them, Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei has a short answer: the smile.
“There’s been a study, a while back, on what makes people attractive,” he explains. “The two things that kept coming up were eyes and the smile. And there’s not much you can do about your eyes.” As a cosmetic dentist, Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei has devoted his professional life to fixing people’s oral health and cosmetic issues; the two are so often connected when the mouth is in question. In his pursuit of ways to help his patients feel better, he became the only dentist in the United States, as far as he’s aware, who performs buccal fat removal procedures.
“The buccal fat removal procedure is very popular with men and women, usually in their twenties, up to late thirties,” he explains. “For the people who want to have a chiseled-looking face, for their cheekbones to stick out. We go from inside the mouth, make a little incision right where the upper molar is, and take out some of the fat.”
This procedure, which is very popular among celebrities who want their cheeks to look less round, is performed under local anaesthesia and it takes around 40 minutes from start to finish. Usually, however, it’s not performed by dentists—even cosmetic dentists—but instead by plastic surgeons. That’s how Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei learned—by working with plastic surgeons who were performing it and using his medical education to find out even more about it and ensure his patients get the best treatment possible.
“When I do the procedure, the recovery takes between one and a couple of days, and the swelling is minimal,” he explains. “It’s the same when I do wisdom teeth extraction; people barely feel any pain or get bad swelling, and they heal up quickly. The way we go in is very focused and we do everything so meticulously and quickly it reduces the chance of infection.”
It takes a lot of practice to get that good at anything, and Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei has seen his fair share of patients requesting buccal fat removal. He estimates he has done more than 500 of these procedures so far, and the number keeps growing by the day. “The plastic surgeons who do it probably do a great job. They’re plastic surgeons, after all. They have more knowledge of this whole area,” he explains. “But I focus on just this one thing. I don’t try to upsell my clients with another procedure, and I try to keep my prices fair and reasonable.”
While he was gaining experience that made him a popular choice for buccal fat extraction, he also learned that people’s desires don’t always match what’s in their best interest. Doing buccal fat removal after the age of 50 isn’t generally recommended, as the natural processes that come with age cause some hollowing of the cheeks and sagging. Removing all the fat is also out of the question, and Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei is a huge advocate for going for a natural look. “The stars that don’t seem to age use that trick,” he says. “They have really good doctors, and they go for the natural look, so you can never pinpoint what happened.”
Apart from being unadvisable, drastic changes with buccal fat removal can also be completely unnecessary. While certain famous people have that hollowed out look on their faces that makes them prime suspects for having buccal fat removal done on them, Dr. Kambiz Kevin Sadraei says that his patients tend to be on the subtler side of things. Even though the celebrities who are rumored to have done it greatly contribute to the popularity of the procedure, when people bring them up, they tend to say they’ll have what they had, only less of it.
“People are doing this for personal reasons and everyone’s a little different. Some just want to look good, others like the fake look,” he says. “The thing with buccal fat removal is that it can be very, very subtle—almost unnoticeable. But for the people who did it, they know that fat’s not there anymore, and that makes them feel more confident, and confidence is attractive. So that’s how a little change can have a big impact on someone’s life.”
Written in partnership with Luke Linz
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