How others perceive us has been a core of human culture since the beginning of history. The specifics of how we “should” look to meet the current social norms have changed as often as the weather. The invention of the internet has made our appearance seem all the more critical, especially for those born to it. With Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, and Twitter providing an ongoing march of ever more polished and filtered images, our view of reality can quickly become distorted. With so many people using social media to communicate with those they care about all over the world, it’s hard to remain unaffected.
Social Dysmorphia And Its Impact on Dentistry
Selfie culture is one of the most notable driving forces behind the rise of social dysmorphia. Selfie culture is the compulsive sharing of images of ourselves through various social media channels. Through these images, we create an impression of how we look and our lives are. In many cases, the images and the description of our lifestyle are misleading and flat-out fabricated at worst. One of the driving forces behind these manipulations is a desire to be well-perceived by others and even envied. However, this has led many people of all ages to develop a misguided view of a healthy and natural appearance.
This has led to the rise of a mental health concern known as smile dysmorphia. Smile dysmorphia is the perception that our smiles are unhealthy, unattractive, or somehow flawed despite none of these things being true. This is often the cause of deep insecurity in those suffering from this condition. These individuals will seek out cosmetic dental care that is unnecessary. In the worst cases, they’ll go to extremes to reach that ideal smile and appearance.
Those with smile dysmorphia often seek treatments such as the following:
- Dental Whitening – It’s not uncommon for our teeth to become stained as we age. Dental whitening is one effective way of eliminating or reducing stains and brightening your smile. However, the underlying mechanism is a peroxide solution that can damage our teeth when overused or misused. The ability of these treatments to lighten our teeth has limits, however. Those with smile dysmorphia often attempt to reach degrees of dental whitening that aren’t within reach of these treatments. Worse, they’re often shades that are impossible for natural teeth.
- Gingival/Enamel Contouring – Some patients live with teeth or gums that appear unnaturally large or small. When teeth appear small, gingival contouring can help by eliminating the excess gum hiding the teeth. Enamel contouring is the same process for those who have teeth they feel are over-pronounced. Needless to say, going to extremes, in either case, can be very unhealthy and painful for the teeth and gums.
Consult With Your Dentist About Smile Dysmorphia
One essential part of battling smile dysmorphia is building a good relationship with your dentist. As a dental health professional, you can rely on their assessment of your smile. They’ll offer healthy and effective treatment options to help you meet your aesthetic dental concerns without putting your oral health at risk. Call for a consultation today!