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How Your Health Can Be Impacted By Smile Dysmorphia

Throughout the centuries, we’ve always been concerned about our appearance. While wanting to look good has been a part of our society as long as we’ve had one, social media is making changes. Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok make it possible to present an image that’s impossibly perfect. While the rise of social media has given us new ways to connect, it has also created a new focus on our appearance. This has led to more people experiencing insecurities about their values, accomplishments, and their beauty. As a result, more people report feelings of unattractiveness and inadequacy when compared to their peers. In dentistry, there has been a rising appearance of people demonstrating what is known as smile dysmorphia.

How Your Health Can Be Impacted By Smile Dysmorphia

The foundation of smile dysmorphia is a distorted and negative self-image. Those who experience this condition often feel inadequate and unfairly judge themselves against the appearance of others. This is most apparent when they’re comparing themselves to the social media presence of an individual. They often have an inaccurate perception of their own smiles, believing there is something with them. Common complaints include the whiteness of their enamel and the way their teeth are shaped. It’s common for these individuals to show resistance to smiling in response to these concerns. These fixations can result in an obsession with improving the imagined imperfections of their smile.

This fixation on achieving an impossibly perfect smile could lead these individuals to seek cosmetic treatment. Some of the common treatments sought by these individuals include the following:

  • Tooth Whitening: While these procedures are not medically necessary, they are safe when done under professional guidance. They remain one of today’s most popular cosmetic dental treatments and can brighten your smile.
  • Gingival Contouring: Some dental patients may believe that their gums are too prominent when they smile. This procedure reduces the appearance of gums by eliminating excess tissue. This is safe when there is plenty of extra gum tissue but inadvisable for those with small amounts of tissue.
  • Enamel Contouring: This process provides the same benefits as gum contouring but focuses on shaping the enamel. This procedure is largely unnecessary but can produce positive aesthetic results for dental patients.
  • Microabrasion: This process is a standard part of receiving certain cosmetic treatments like veneers. It involves removing minute amounts of enamel from the surface of the tooth. While generally used to prepare a tooth to place the veneers, it can also eliminate shallow surface staining.

Reach Out To Your Dentist For Guidance

If you’re feeling dissatisfied with your teeth’ appearance and want some help getting perspective, contact your dentist. They’ll help you determine if your concerns are the result of exposure to toxic social media or if your concerns are both reasonable and correctible. They’ll help you design an appropriate treatment plan that will address your aesthetic concerns and help you get the smile you’re dreaming of. You might find it helpful to speak to a counselor before seeking cosmetic treatment if you’re concerned about your motives.

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Dr. Marian Bradford Dr. Marian Bradford brings over 20 years of experience as a Dr. of Dental Surgery to the practice at Premier Dental of South Orange County. As a researcher, educator, and clinician, she brings a full range of services to patients in the Aliso Viejo, CA area, including restoration and cosmetic dentistry care.
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