The mouth is the body’s most expressive member. When people socialize, we look at each other’s mouths for important cues that help connection and understanding. When people become shy to open their mouths because they’re unhappy with how their teeth look, it’s time to take action. Dr. Wendy Willoughby, DDS in Asheville, NC offers expert cosmetic dentistry that can literally change your life.
Why Cosmetic Dentistry?
While our teeth are remarkably strong and versatile parts of our bodies, they don’t always look the way we want them to. Some never grew in straight, while others become misaligned over time. Some have become chipped or cracked, which can lead to both immediate and future mouth pain. Most teeth change color over time owing to nothing more than age and what we eat and drink.
When Should You Consider Cosmetic Dentistry?
There are numerous physical and emotional motivators for seeking help with your smile. Sometimes there’s a direct cause and effect that leads to the dentist’s chair, and it’s hard to smile when your mouth is in discomfort.
In other cases, teeth that we don’t feel good about impose a subtle behavioral impact that we ourselves don’t see, but the rest of the world picks up on. When we don’t like our smiles, we’re simply less inclined to show them.
Some physical reasons why people opt for cosmetic dentistry include:
Crooked teeth are not only aesthetically unpleasing, but they can also cause jaw pain and even tinnitus. They can force you to chew your food in a way that makes you compensate around them.
This causes undue stress on your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), a complex structure where the jaw meets the skull. Over time, a worn TMJ can cause constant pain, popping and clicking sensations as you speak, and even ringing in the ears that causes hearing damage.
Cracks and Jagged Edges
Many people grind their teeth, often in their sleep. Researchers believe more than 1 in 12 Americans are affected by this syndrome. While officially a movement disorder, bruxism can also be seen as a natural, though negative, effect of stress or anxiety.
The effects of grinding and other damages to the teeth include cracks, which can lead to infections, and jagged edges which can cause painful sores and abrasions on the tongue and inner cheeks.
Gaps Between Teeth
Unnatural spacing between teeth is not only stigmatizing, it makes it harder to care for the teeth. Food and bacteria collect in spots that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and hard to floss.
Over the course of time, the resulting tooth decay not only causes bad breath (gingivitis) but also makes cavities likely.
The need for eventual dental work is assured, and if the problem is ignored long enough, the tooth may have to be replaced with an implant. Beyond a remedy these physical problems, many people opt for cosmetic dentistry for more subtle emotional reasons, including:
All of us carry an internal image of how we believe others see us. Psychologists call this the “looking-glass self.” When people feel that the look of their teeth or smile is unappealing, they believe that others share a similar view, whether it’s true or not.
Overcoming this false pretense is hard work. It takes effort to rationalize it away. This extra load of self-consciousness causes anxiety and stress that impacts the rest of our health, including mood, sleep quality, skin tone, and more.
As humans, our species tend to be visually oriented. After all, “seeing is believing.” Our culture, among many others, appreciates physical appearance and often uses it as a kind of cognitive shorthand for how we perceive each other.
When people meet people who are obese or have crossed eyes, they subtly create frames of reference that color relationships. Crooked or discolored teeth can create the same kind of stigma, both internally and externally.
When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we don’t put ourselves out there as much. We don’t jump in with a big smile for a group selfie. We don’t speak up as much at the office or in class. We find ourselves shyer and less likely to engage with the outside world.
We keep our mouths closed, presenting the world with a visual that looks like a frown, even if we’re not feeling that way. We become less social and lose out on precious time with friends, family, and new relationships.
How Cosmetic Dentistry Helps
Cosmetic dentistry involves a broad range of treatments that bring teeth into a healthy and aesthetically pleasing shape. This ranges from state-of-the-art whitening techniques to permanent treatments that restore healthier breathing, chewing, and sleeping while making the teeth look their best.
Advances in materials, technologies, and dental techniques have made it possible today to correct virtually any problem or dissatisfaction with your teeth. Many of these treatments are convenient enough to be done over a lunch hour. Others may take multiple sessions and a larger game plan but produce beneficial results that last a lifetime.
How Can I Get Started?
Dentistry is no longer something that you only think about when there’s a toothache. Modern dentistry is not only able to repair your teeth, it’s able to improve them, both aesthetically and structurally.
The best path to a healthy smile that the world will take notice of starts with a consultation. Contact Dr. Wendy Willoughby, DDS in Asheville, NC to set up an appointment today. We will take the time to discuss your goals and the best way to achieve the look that really represents the best you.