Considering Cosmetic Dentistry? Side Effects May Include Increased Self-Esteem

Red lips and white teeth

Did you know that cosmetic dentistry can alter more than just your smile? Yes, while cosmetic dentistry aims to enhance the visual aesthetics and dental health of your smile, the perks don’t end there. One of the greatest side effects of cosmetic dentistry is its ability to increase your self-esteem and confidence, which affects the way you present yourself to the world and interact with others. Besides improving the look, function, and the health of your smile, cosmetic dentistry can actually improve the image you have of yourself and your social interactions with others.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

First things first, let’s define what cosmetic dentistry is. Cosmetic dentistry is a specialized form of dentistry that enables you to wear your best smile. Cosmetic dentistry can align your teeth, make them whiter, correct their shape and size, repair structural defects, and correct spacing issues to improve the overall aesthetics of your smile. The following treatments are examples of cosmetic dental treatments:

  • Composite Fillings: tooth-colored fillings that blend in with your teeth’s natural color.
  • Composite Bonding: composite resin used to correct structural issues or repair damaged teeth.
  • Dental Crown: a cap that sits over a decayed or damaged tooth. Protects the underlying tooth structure while also improving the size, shape, and color of the affected tooth.
  • Dental Implants: artificial tooth roots that are placed into the jaw and can restore the visual appearance and function of a previously missing tooth (or teeth).
  • Dental Veneers: thin, porcelain shells that are fixed to the front surface of teeth to improve their shape, size, and color.
  • Gingival Contouring: used to reshape or remove excess gum tissue that causes a “gummy smile”.
  • Invisalign: clear aligners used to properly align teeth discreetly.
  • Teeth Whitening: a specialized dental treatment that removes stains from the enamel and underlying dentin layer. Can whiten teeth up to 10 shades in a single treatment.

Why Cosmetic Dentistry?

Your mouth, more specifically your smile, is one of the primary facial features associated with the physical attractiveness of the face. It is also one of the first things people see and it plays a key role in the everyday social interactions you have with people around you. As such, people with less than perfect smiles may feel self-conscious about their smiles. A recent study found that about 53% of study participants where not satisfied with their dental appearance. When asked to name specific reasons, they mentioned dissatisfaction with their teeth in terms of color, alignment, crowding, and the fact that they protruded from the mouth.

Some people’s dissatisfaction with their dental appearance is so severe that it affects not only their self-image, but their social lives as well. One lady, featured in the 2018 Spring issue of the ACCD Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, was so embarrassed about her smile that her whole life revolved around this embarrassment.

She notes, “For years I was extremely hesitant to leave the house alone because I was worried that someone would engage me in conversation, and I envisioned their disgust if I were to accidentally smile or show my teeth. I discontinued my college education because I was fearful of showing my teeth during class discussions. In fact, I withdrew from any activity that might cause me to show my teeth.”

This woman’s experience shows the negative ways a less than perfect smile can affect someone. While all examples are not usually this extreme, the simple fact of the matter is that people who have discolored, crooked, gapped, protruding, or otherwise less than perfect teeth, can experience varying levels of negative self-image.

Depending on the severity of their smile’s affect on their self-image, people who do not feel confident about their smiles often don’t exude confidence at all. Rather, they become constantly worried that people will see their smile or will judge them, and this is reflected in their behavior during social interactions. In addition, the way people react to them can also cause them to act a certain way. In the end, it becomes like an endless circle of uncomfortable social interactions that can eventually alter the way they live their lives and interact with others.

Increased Self-Esteem

Conversely, people who have their teeth worked on with the help of cosmetic dentistry experience positive effects on their self-esteem. Because they have a nice smile, they are more likely to smile more and present themselves more confidently during social interactions with others.

Whether we like to admit it or not, humans are visual creatures and our physical appearance matters to ourselves and to others. Most people feel better about themselves when they feel attractive and are more likely to promote themselves to others. Increasing one’s self-esteem and confidence changes the way they interact with people, and will also change the way people respond to and interact with them.

In a study done by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, they found that people with good smiles are perceived by others as being more attractive, more successful, more interesting, and more intelligent. Because of this, people with good smiles are also more likely to be hired, promoted, or to make higher salaries. Overall, people who have good smiles, and who smile more frequently than those who do not, are generally perceived in a more likeable light.

A little boost in self-esteem can go a long way. Often times, cosmetic dentistry can act as a catalyst for the rest of a person’s life. Being more secure with your appearance makes your more confident in yourself and inadvertently encourages you to try new things. Many cosmetic dentists report seeing their patients come back into their office with new hair and new clothes, as well as a possible new job or relationship. Indeed, an improved smile becomes that spark that lights their life afire.

Are you ready to light the spark for a blazing new life style? Schedule a consultation with Legacy Dental today to see how cosmetic dentistry can change your life for the better!

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