What Is Smile Dysmorphia And How It Affects Dentistry

People have been concerned about their self-image for as long as there have been people. Throughout the years, the importance of our appearance has varied. Since the invention of the internet, there’s been growing pressure to look our absolute best. This has only intensified since the introduction of platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media has been important in bringing the world together and helping friends and family connect. However, it has also brought with it smile dysmorphia.

What Is Smile Dysmorphia And How It Affects Dentistry

The driving force behind smile dysmorphia is selfie-culture. Selfie-culture promotes us looking our best and presenting our best selves to the world. However, many people go to great lengths to create a fictional version of themselves that they share online. This often creates deep insecurity about their self-image and smile. Due to the abundance of filters available through social media, many people have developed a warped sense of what proper expectations are for how we look.

Smile dysmorphia is a condition where people have deep insecurities about their smiles. This insecurity is present regardless of the health and appearance of their teeth. Due to the “perfect face” many people put forth on the internet, they compare themselves to the impossible. This leads many of them to seek cosmetic treatments from their dental team to address imagined issues. Some of the most common treatments they seek include:

  • Dental Whitening – If you suffer from discolored teeth, dental whitening can help. However, this process will generally only improve the color of your teeth by a couple of shades. This is achieved through the use of a special peroxide solution. This solution is safe when used under the guidance of dentists but can damage enamel and cause sensitivity if misused. Those with smile dysmorphia may overuse this treatment to their detriment despite having beautiful teeth.
  • Gingival Contouring – This is a process by which excess gum is removed to make the teeth more prominent. Some have teeth that appear very small due to an excess of gum. For these patients, gingival contouring can be very helpful. However, smile dysmorphia may make an individual feel like they need this procedure when they don’t. 
  • Enamel Contouring – This procedure removes excess enamel from the teeth. It is used when patients have excessively large or misshapen teeth. However, there have been TikTok trends encouraging people to file their teeth. This can be quite damaging and lead to the loss of teeth and painful sensitivity.

Reach Out To Your Dentist For Advice

The most effective thing that patients can do is trust their dentist. This is especially true for those struggling with smile dysmorphia. If you have unrealistic expectations about the appearance of your teeth, it can lead to trouble. Your dentist can inform know if you have healthy, beautiful teeth. They can also let you know if they have concerns that you’re struggling with smile dysmorphia. They may suggest mental health counseling if they believe this to be the case.

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