Emotional Dentistry: Dentistry With A Mental Health Focus

Have you ever looked in the mirror less than pleased with your smile? Perhaps you feel your teeth aren’t symmetrical or that your enamel is darker than you’d prefer. You may feel that your gums are too prominent or that your teeth appear like nubs in your mouth. Studies have revealed that nearly 80% of people feel that their teeth could use some improvement. 28% of those studied indicated that they take pains to hide their teeth on social media. Approximately 42% of them placed improving the appearance of their smile above all other concerns. Many dental patients feel this insecurity, leading to the rise of a practice known as “emotional dentistry.”

How Emotional Dentistry Impacts Dental Care

This term isn’t one that you hear patients talking about. Instead, it is a concern that dentists share when discussing their approach to patient’s concerns about their oral health. The core concept of emotional dentistry is ensuring that the patient’s emotions surrounding their smiles are considered. With this in mind, dentists are focused on trying to help their patients achieve a smile they’d be proud to share.

Our relationship with our smiles can significantly impact our day-to-day lives. We may:

  • Be self-conscious about smiling when others can see
  • Avoid having pictures taken that include our smile
  • Be reserved about laughing for fear of showing our teeth
  • Avoid smiling during job interviews and other social situations
  • Be constantly aware of our smile and our disapproval of it

This kind of experience can make every day stressful and emotionally difficult. We may constantly remind ourselves of our dissatisfaction with our smiles. Doing so can increase feelings of anxiety and stress and can ultimately lead to poor self-image and depression.

One tool that has been introduced that can help integrate emotional dentistry principles into our care is DSD. Also known as Digital Smile Design, this practice allows dentists to share the potential outcome of dental treatments and procedures they may suggest. This can help patients understand what the dentist can do to improve their smile while setting realistic expectations.

Working with DSD allows patients and dentists to develop treatment plans that can most closely reach their desired goals. Being comfortable with our smile plays a significant role in our physical and emotional health. Smiling reduces stress, boosts our mood, and can even help reduce the experience of pain. Further, smiling helps those around us. Smiles are infectious, and seeing someone smile can make us smile as well.

The Cornerstones Of A Beautiful Smile

Multiple factors are involved in improving our smiles, and you may be surprised what some of them are. One of the most physically prominent is symmetry. Our minds have evolved to recognize symmetry as a foundation of beauty. Another element is the amount of gingival tissue we have compared to our dental tissue. Tooth color is also prominently important in how our smile is perceived. Reach out to your dentist to get tips on improving your smile and seeing if DSD can help you on your journey.