Healthy, attractive teeth affect how someone is perceived by others

Healthy, attractive teeth affect how someone is perceived by others

A good-looking smile with rows of  healthy teeth is so important to people that a recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans showed 87 percent of respondents said they would give up something for a year in order to have a nice smile for the rest of their lives.

Just as telling was the survey finding by Kelton Research that people appear to be financially and professionally successful, intelligent, healthy and happy when they have straight, well-tended teeth.

“The results of this Smile Survey prove what I’ve always believed, which is the importance of an attractive, healthy smile, whether you’re socializing and networking face-to-face or virtually,” said TV psychologist Michelle Callahan, Ph.D.  “Your smile has more of an effect on what others perceive about you than you think.”

When study participants were shown a series of images in which some people had straight teeth and others had crooked teeth, those with straight teeth invariably drew a more positive response. About one-third of those surveyed said they notice a person’s teeth before other facial features. Beyond their first impressions, three out of four respondents said they would trust a person with a great smile more than someone with a good job, an attractive outfit or an impressive car.

Cosmetic changes
The Kelton survey showed how great an impression is left by people who have a nice-looking smile, and perhaps more importantly, by those who do not. But in an age when adults are going to a cosmetic dentist because they didn’t have their teeth straightened as a child, or using a variety of solutions to restore the white teeth of their youth, there’s no reason an unattractive set of teeth should spoil someone’s appearance.

“Many people tend to focus on fixing the things about themselves they think will have the biggest impact, often overlooking one of the most impressionable physical attributes like their teeth,” said Timothy A. Mack , an executive with the manufacturer of Invisalign braces, which commissioned the Kelton study.

Invisible braces are just one of the products that can improve the look of one’s teeth. First and foremost, people should have their teeth checked regularly by their family dentist to make sure they aren’t harboring any gum inflammation or tooth decay. Once their teeth are pronounced healthy, they can move on to dentistry that will improve how they look.

Implant dentists, for instance, can introduce a variety of options to fill in gaps where teeth are missing. The difference between having dentures made to replace teeth is that implants are permanent and don’t require any more care than normal dental hygiene.

Whitening issues
One of the easiest and most accessible cosmetic improvements that people can make to their smiles is removing stains and yellowing left by coffee, tea, red wine and smoking. There is a wide range of products, from home kits to professional whitening by dentists, that can be used to restore the sheen of healthy teeth.

However, before using whitening strips, WedMD.com recommends scheduling a visit to the dentist office. Making sure that one’s dental health is in good shape is an important step before the cosmetic work begins. Having a cavity or inflamed gums could interfere with the whitening treatment.

Another concern with home kits is that they be used correctly. Following the manufacturer’s instructions will provide the best possible outcome. Sometimes people think that leaving whitening strips on longer than prescribed will make their teeth look better. They could end up with uneven splotches and tooth sensitivity instead of achieving the full effect of brightening without going to a dentist for a professional job.

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