What Is Smile Dysmorphia And How It Affects Dentistry

Woman Struggling with Smile Dysmorphia

It’s estimated that around two percent of the population suffers from facial or body dysmorphia, causing negative self-perceptions of their face or body and obsessions over certain features of their physical appearance. In dentistry, it’s commonly referred to as smile dysmorphia, a form of dysmorphia that’s associated with how their smile looks. Focusing on these perceived flaws can create problems for dentists attempting to treat their patients’ concerns. However, diving into the topic, we can better understand where it comes from and how to best treat patients with their concerns.

How Smile Dysmorphia Causes Obstacles in Dental Care

One of the most significant driving forces behind smile dysmorphia is social media – with the introductions of platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, people concerned with their self-image are now even more driven to appeal to those desires by presenting themselves in the best light possible. Through this, deep insecurities with their bodies, faces, and smiles are more prevalent in today’s youth. 

Smile dysmorphia causes deep insecurity, regardless of the health and appearance of their teeth. Due to the “perfect face” many people put forth on the internet, they often compare themselves to impossible expectations. This situation leads many to seek cosmetic treatments from their dental care. For many dentists who work in this field, it can be difficult to discern their goals and aspirations for their smiles, as those expectations are ever-changing and almost impossible to achieve. 

However, there are many treatments that dentists can provide to help patients achieve better oral aesthetics without complications. These options include: 

  • Dental Whitening – If you suffer from discolored teeth, dental whitening can improve the color of your teeth by a couple of shades. Dental whitening is done through a special peroxide solution, which can produce beautiful teeth in the right quantities. 
  • Gingival Contouring – Gum contouring is when parts of the gum are removed to make the teeth more prominent. It’s often used for medical purposes, especially if excess gum interferes with brushing and flossing. However, gingival contouring can be very helpful for those with smile dysmorphia.
  • Enamel Contouring – Enamel contouring works similarly to gingival contouring, removing excess enamel from the teeth. Often used for those with misshapen teeth, it’s excellent for those preparing for other treatments such as veneers. However, some TikTok trends have been encouraging people to file their teeth, which can be damaging and cause tooth loss if not careful. 

Why Your Dentist Is Your Best Critic For Your Smile

One of the best mindsets any dentist can have when providing their services is to provide treatments that compliment their patients and show off their inner beauty. This means working with their patient’s facial symmetry, tooth color, mouth and jaw shape, and other factors to provide treatments that are meaningful to them. Dental care should always be about personal health, and for many cosmetic dentists, that also means emphasizing the unique traits that make them who they are. If you are insecure about the appearance of your smile, speak with your dentist, and they will be able to help you.

Alireza Movassaghi, D.D.S and Other Dentist Torrance Dental Associates is proud to be the home of Dr. Alireza Movassaghi, a USC School of Dentistry Graduate with 30 years of experience. His mission is to expand access to dental care throughout the Los Angeles area. When not engaged in providing expert dental care for his patients, he's taking in the latest soccer game and enjoying fine cars.
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