The spiritual leader and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Hmmm… could this be more profound than just prompting the image of polite gestures?
Having someone smile at you is typically contagious. Smile at me and I’m going to smile back. Yet, for those who feel less than confident when smiling, those smiles may occur less frequently.
In prior blogs regarding cosmetic dentistry, I’ve shared research that reveals just how powerful a smile is when it comes to our moods and how others perceive us. (https://www.banrbarbatdds.com/beautiful-smiles-go-further-than-you-can-see/).
As a matter of fact, the power of a smile has been studied so much that even the sincerity of a smile has been labeled. Duchenne smiles are those described as smiles that cause the cheeks to life and form crow’s feet around the eyes. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/thriving101/201001/what-science-has-say-about-genuine-vs-fake-smiles)
Obviously, when someone feels awkward about their smile, they are less apt to share it. When they do, it tends to be not very wide or ‘happy.’ So, it’s no surprise that when someone is described as the type who can ‘light up a room,’ we know it is because they come in with a wide, sincere smile that exudes from within.
Because most of us were simply not born with a beautiful smile, having one that lights up a room may be the result of a little help through cosmetic dentistry. Having a wide, happy smile is the result of an individual who feels good about the appearance of their smile.
Some adults who were fortunate to have orthodontic treatment (braces) as teens likely have more appealing smiles today with the benefits of straight teeth. However, crowded, crooked teeth are not the only cause for ‘unhappy’ smiles. Smiles that have chipped, stained (or discolored due to medications), worn, decayed, broken or missing teeth can make one feel awkward.
As a dentist, it is troubling to know there are people who avoid smiling or ‘hold back’ by smiling with their lips only or placing a hand in front of it. For some, effective in-office teeth whitening treatments can boost a smile’s appearance (such as our Zoom 2 Tooth Whitening system). Others who have crooked teeth may benefit from orthodontic treatment (braces or Invisalign) or having porcelain crowns or veneers placed.
Keep in mind that true esthetic enhancements have more to do with lightening the shade of teeth or filling in the gap between the two front teeth, for example. When it comes to selecting a cosmetic dentist, pay particular note of:
• Whiter teeth can create a more-youthful appearance and help to camouflage flaws in teeth. However, for every age, there is a ‘natural’ shade of white that is appealing versus a degree of whitening that is downright day-glo. Teeth that are unnaturally white stand out in a not-so-flattering way. Let the guidance of a dentist who uses professional grade whiteners advise you on the degree of whiteness that will be most flattering for you.
• Porcelain Veneers and Crowns can beautifully recreate a smile by altering tooth shape, shade and size. Yes, treatment costs are based on the number of teeth involved. However, that number should be determined based on those teeth that show in a wide, natural smile rather than the level of the fee. For example, when gapped teeth are repaired, it would look unnatural to fill the gap using veneers on the two, front teeth only. You’d end up with ‘bunny teeth.’ By involving the top four or six teeth, we can balance the disparity to create a natural look you’ll love.
• While bonding is less expensive than veneers or crowns, it also has less longevity and stains easier. I feel it’s helpful for patients to know that going in so they can make their decisions based on realistic expectations.
• A beautiful smile may be fabulous, but if the bite becomes misaligned in the process, you could end up with TMJ disorders that can lead to some pretty debilitating problems down the road. These include frequent headaches; migraines; dizziness; ear ringing; painful jaw joints and facial muscles; jaw popping; and difficulty opening the mouth fully. Additionally, bite misalignment can cause night-time clenching and grinding. These actions can result in worn, cracked, broken, chipped or fractured teeth. Make sure your dentist has neuro-muscular training to help you avoid these painful results.
• Beware ‘bargain rates’ when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. Like anything, you ‘get what you pay for’ in dentistry, too. A cheap price for esthetic procedures is not because a dentist was feeling kindly to you. It’s typically because corners are being cut. Select your cosmetic dentist based upon training, experience and a commitment to exceptional techniques and materials for the very best outcome.
What tends to hold most people back from pursing smile makeovers is cost and, in some cases, dental fear. I’d like to address both, as we have helped hundreds of patients with similar issues to overcome these obstacles.
Once the cost of your treatment is determined, we will have you meet with Deb, our Financial Coordinator. Deb has been with me since I began dental practice and has helped many patients to be able to enjoy the results of excellent dentistry while making easy, monthly payments. She is adept at blending available insurance coverages with interest-free payment plans so the monthly amount does not strain one’s budget. We’ll be happy to arrange for you to meet with her.
As far as dental fear, we regularly see patients who have varying levels of dental fear so you’re not in foreign territory here. You’re in good hands. By combining a respectful environment, a gentle touch, comfort options as needed or desired (including oral or IV sedation), most of these patients come to relax, knowing they can trust us to make sure they do not experience pain. We are careful to pace treatment so it moves according to what patients feel is comfortable while keeping patients informed of what we are doing throughout their procedures. At any time, we can stop and let you take a break or revisit comfort options.
Ready to discuss YOUR smile? The years of simply longing for a smile that brings out the real you can be a reality, often in just two visits! Let’s discuss the options best suited to your needs and goals during a free consultation. Simply click here or call 586-739-2155 to schedule.