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Smile.....if you Dare!

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Everyone seems so obsessed with having perfectly white teeth that it’s changed the way we judge teeth all together. If you ever happen to catch an old rerun of something on TV you’ll notice that few of the actors had perfect smiles. The occasional big star might spend a fortune on pearly whites and people who wore false teeth often looked better but for the most past teeth were teeth. They come in different shapes and different shades and smiles can be crooked or exhibiting a bit too much gums, but so what? When braces came along I was lucky to get them but not every kid on the block did. Most people had imperfect smiles and actually went on to live happy lives.

Not now. Movie stars all have perfect teeth, perfectly straight and white. It's part of the package now like automatic transmission is with a Toyota Camry. The media has bombarded us with so many products, treatments and procedures designed to improve our smile, thereby improving our lives so we can go on to have all of our dreams come true.

Caught up in the tooth whitening craze I tried the strips at the drug store and they did nothing, and then the trays from the dentist, and all they did was cause terrible tooth sensitivity. While whining to my dentist she told me she thinks I have nice, natural looking teeth. This used to be a compliment but now “natural” means that you can see the cracks and bonding and varieties of gray, off-white, beige and cream tones.

She said she has many patients who want their teeth to be the kind of gleaming white that people claim to see at the end of the tunnel during an out of body experience. Society has convinced us all that if we don’t have a perfect Hollywood smile that there’s no point in even smiling…..ever. I considered veneers until I found out how expensive they are! It’s no wonder all the people who have them smile so much, they must really want to get their money’s worth. Or maybe they know that with their perfect white smiles they’ll never have another thing to worry about again in their lives.

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So true. And perfect, seemingly never-used teeth are just one of the many attributes we're told we need to feel good about ourselves .

From teeth, to hair, to body shape, we receive only the most narrow and uniform messages and images of what qualifies as beauty and healthful appearance.

I'd say your dentist is an exception. I remember when visiting the dentist was clearly about maintaining the health of my teeth. Now I have to fill out questionnaires detailing what I don't like about my smile before they'll even see me. It's now about a smile fix with little or no relation to the integrity of my teeth or their overall purpose - grinding food.

Thanks for sharing! I'm sure many a dental patient can identify with your experience.

Susan Beausang

December 15, 2010 - 9:38am
EmpowHER Guest

I agree. Having perfectly straight and white teeth does not mean you are healthy. "Cosemetic dentists" may risk creating more problems if s/he is merely putting a superficial ‘gloss’ over an unhealthy mouth, without taking into consideration other issues such as the patient’s tooth wear and/or head/neck pain that could be at the heart of the problem. Ronald Goldstein, D.D.S., Founder of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry remarks, “It has been estimated that in 2004, of the $35 billion spent on cosmetic dentistry, $10 billion was spent on misdiagnoses and redoing faulty dentistry.” To me, this is a strong indicator of the excessive misapplication of cosmetic technology in the dental profession. Even the best of technologies can fail if applied to an unhealthy oral system – similar to a premium quality tire placed on a racing car whose front end is out of alignment. The goal at Dr. McBride's Holistic Dental Wellness Center(my dad) where I work is to first learn about the person and the underlying causes. A lot of people want a quick fix instead of assessing their complete oral health. A dentist with a holistic approach is not just checking your teeth and gums, looking for decay and periodontal (gum) disease, or wanting to sell you on the idea of an improved smile through the wonders of cosmetic dentistry(such as teeth whitening). To Dr. McBride, holistic dentistry means first getting to know the whole person, their attitudes towards dentistry and their desires regarding prevention and treatment. True health requires patient education. When a person is healthy it is much easier to SMILE! Leanne
For great articles written by Dr. Robert McBride go to: LongBeachHolisticDentist

December 6, 2010 - 12:07pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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