How Can You Benefit From a Smile Makeover?

By: Patricia Woloch

While 99.7% of Americans believe a smile is an extremely important attribute, it's probably no surprise that a beautiful smile will make you seem more attractive. What might be surprising is that your smile might make you seem more intelligent, happy, and successful. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), listed these traits among a list of seven others, and then asked a survey group to look at two sets of pictures of eight people, rating them on characteristics. The first set, or "Before," pictures showed the eight people prior to going in for cosmetic dentistry. The second set, or "After," showed the eight, post-cosmetic dentistry.

List of Characteristics Judged
&bullAttractive
&bullIntelligent
&bullHappy
&bullSuccessful in their career
&bullFriendly
&bullInteresting
&bullKind
&bullWealthy
&bullPopular with the opposite sex
&bullSensitive to other people

Study Findings
While the characteristics on the list showed varying levels of importance, all ten of them showed increases in ratings after the eight people had their procedures. At the top of the list were attractiveness, popularity with the opposite sex, wealth, and success. At the bottom of the list were friendliness, sensitivity, happiness, and kindness.

The study also asked those involved to state the first thing they notice in a smile. Some of the most common responses were straightness, whiteness and color of teeth, and cleanliness. When asked what attributes make a smile unattractive, some of the most common responses were discolored, yellow, or stained teeth, missing teeth, and crooked teeth. When asked, this same group of people said they'd most likely want to whiten or brighten their teeth.

Analysis
What this seems to say is that people have fairly similar tastes in what makes an attractive smile. It also shows that people believe a nice smile is one of the keys to improving your life. This is not surprising when 74% of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt chances for career success.

Cosmetic dentists have seen an increase in the number of people who want to change something about their teeth. Maybe people want to have the same type of teeth Hollywood movie stars have. Or maybe they think the same way as those involved in the AACD study. For a long time, braces have been a well-known way to improve one's teeth. But now, with the advent of Invisalign (invisible braces), more people are willing to go to a cosmetic dentist for teeth straightening because they know they won't look like a meta-mouth. Add porcelain crowns and veneers, tooth whitening that doesn't involve whitening strips, tooth and gum recontouring done with a laser, we now have new approaches to dentistry.

There doesn't seem to be much gender difference getting these things done. While the AACD study showed that women were perceived as more likely to get cosmetic dentistry to improve attractiveness, men were perceived as getting cosmetic surgery to improve their career prospects.

Cosmetic dentistry might seem vain to some, but a majority of Americans believe your smile can make or break you in various aspects of your life.

Dental Surgery
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