For many years, dentistry in the UK has arguably focused on correcting problems after they occur and helping teeth to fulfil their basic function of being able to bite and chew. Many dental treatments are not available through the NHS because they are viewed as ‘cosmetic’ and therefore unnecessary, a luxury even. The message being that white, straight teeth may be the norm for Hollywood A-listers but not for the likes of everyday folk like us.
As a cosmetic dentist, it perhaps goes without saying that I have a different take. Yes, making sure that your teeth function to the very best of their capabilities is essential. A correct bite makes it easier to keep your teeth clean, prevent gum disease, protect your overall health, and even stop headaches, neck ache or snoring.
However, I am focused on the form and appearance of your teeth too. I don’t believe that beautiful looking teeth are a luxury or something you should feel embarrassed about wanting. Study after study has shown that when it comes to smiles, first impressions are everything.
Kelton Research in the US carried out a unique digital perception study that contrasted images of men and women with straight or crooked teeth. A total of 1,047 people took the study, chosen as representative of the wider population. The findings showed that:
- 29% of people noticed a person’s smile first
- For 24% of people, the smile was the facial feature they remembered long after the face had disappeared from view
- People believe that someone with straight teeth is 45% more likely to get a job than someone with crooked teeth, and 58% more likely to be successful as well as 58% more likely to be wealthy
- On dating sites, people with straight teeth are viewed as 57% more likely to get a date based on their picture alone
- 38% of people would not go on a second date with someone who has crooked teeth, whereas only 23% would turn down a second date with someone who still lives with their parents
- People with straight teeth are 21% more likely to be seen as happy, 47% more likely to be viewed as healthy, and 38% more likely to be perceived as intelligent
- 73% of the participants say that they would trust someone with a nice smile far more than someone with a good job, suit and car
- 87% of people would forgo something they love for a year if they could have a gorgeous smile for the rest of their life
These statistics underpin my belief that my role as a cosmetic dentist is about bringing the function and form of your teeth into harmony. I want your bite to work well and your teeth to look good doing it.
As a cosmetic dentist, I also think that dentists everywhere need to address dental education and prevention as their main priorities. We live longer lives than ever before and, with the right care and attention, there is no reason that most of us shouldn’t have our natural teeth for the whole of our lives. By encouraging people, from early childhood onwards, to look after their teeth we can help to protect them from needing dental treatment in the future.
Of course, if people do need dental treatment, it’s important that it’s delivered in a timely way and is about more than making do or patching up a problem. What is the underlying cause? What can be done to make a person dentally fit? How can we prevent an issue from escalating?
When we bring form, function, prevention, correction and education together, we give our patients the best possible standards of care.
If you’re looking for a cosmetic dentist in Grantham or the surrounding areas, give us a call at the Dental Health Centre on 01476 594480 and we’ll be happy to help.