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Social media and cosmetic dentistry

In our social media-driven times, we’re looking at each other and ourselves — and critically examining ourselves — an awful lot more. We’re FaceTiming, Snapchatting, and constantly taking photos. Small wonder that our smile comes in for scrutiny.

The “huge upward curve”  in demand for cosmetic dentistry has a lot to do with inescapable camera phones and social media.

The 2015 survey found one in five people cite a good smile as the first thing they notice on an online dating profile and 91% say they wouldn’t consider dating someone with bad teeth.

Aesthetic dentists look towards proportionality and symmetry in the teeth, attributes which are programmed into our DNA as attractive and signs of good general health.

We see these beautiful smiles on celebrities and media influencers, and some have been artificially created.

Meanwhile, out in the real world, if your set of teeth are a long way from straight and pearly white, there’s plenty more social media posts to remind you of that.

Google ‘teeth before and after’ and you’ll find a whole host of celebrities flashing the perfect Hollywood smile.

And even if your teeth were pretty good to begin with, age delivers the sucker punch. As we get older, teeth naturally darken, and wear. The dentine on the inside becomes thicker and stronger. It builds up on the inside of teeth. It’s yellowish and shines through the enamel. As well as that, we pick up stains along the way.

Cosmetic dentists are well used to initial consultations with clients who don’t smile or who have learned to only half-smile or smile with closed lips — anything to divert attention from what they see as imperfections.

They’ll say they’ve never been comfortable smiling. They hide their teeth a lot. They put their hand over their mouth or turn sideways when they smile,” A 2016 British Orthodontic survey that found 90% of adults — post orthodontic treatment — reporting dramatically improved health and feelings of wellbeing.

In orthodontics, we take a lot of before and after photos. After, you see the difference in their facial appearance, in the clothes they wear — they’re much more confident in how they appear.

Tooth whitening involves putting hydrogen peroxide bleach on the teeth and light-activating it. The patient continues the process using trays at home. Fitted over the teeth, trays are thin, clear, and flexible.

After about two weeks, you get a nice white shade. Of course, nobody wants a high-wattage, full beam, Day-Glo smile. A good guide is not to go whiter than the white of your eyes.

On average, the effect lasts two years.

You can maintain it by regular cleaning, good oral hygiene, using whitening toothpaste and touch-up treatments once or twice a year.

Whitening is ideal if teeth are nicely aligned, there are no oral health issues, and the client doesn’t have lots of work already done on front teeth (you can’t bleach crowns or veneers and it doesn’t work well on fillings).

“If you focus in on just improving the appearance of those, you can miss out on other problems. Patients may have gum disease, decayed teeth, or poor bite — if you don’t tackle underlying problems, cracks will re-appear.  Our dentist works with you to meet your personal needs. We embrace natural smiles. If you’re happy, your smile shines.