Concern over the perceptions of others has been a part of the human experience for time out of mind. As we pursue friendships, attempt to advance our careers, or seek romantic bonds. As society has grown larger and technology has advanced, the body of people with whom we concern ourselves has grown. The introduction of the internet and the advent of social media has exponentially affected this number. Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and Twitter have connected us to tens of thousands or millions of viewers. Feedback and commentary from each of them are a common part of our day-to-day experience.
Understanding Smile Dysmorphia And Its Impact On Dentistry
There’s a human tendency to try to put our best foot forward. We’ll attempt to do this even when our “best foot” isn’t grounded in an honest representation of ourselves. Social media has made it possible to craft an entirely fictitious image of our lives and achievements. Specialized filters available on social media platforms on TikTok and Twitter make it possible to eliminate blemishes and flaws from our photos with the tap of a screen. In addition to masking our true appearance, it also creates unrealistic beauty ideals.
We may see our images and those of others created with these filters and begin to compare ourselves to these impossible ideals. Using filters, we can make our lips pop, our teeth shine, and eliminate nearly every blemish from our appearance in these images. This has led to the classification of a new mental health concern known as “Smile Dysmorphia.”
Smile dysmorphia is, in many ways, an extension of the already existing body dysmorphia. Thousands of people have difficulty feeling comfortable in their own bodies. As one example, their perception of their weight may simply be inaccurate to reality.
This can lead to eating disorders, excessive exercise, and other damaging behaviors. Smile dysmorphia is an inaccurate perception of our lips, teeth, gums, and overall smile. Regardless of how beautiful or perfect our teeth may be, those with smile dysmorphia focus on perceived faults and flaws. Some dental treatments are common for those with this disorder to seek.
These treatments include:
- Dental Whitening
- Gingival Contouring
- Enamel Contouring
While millions of people each year seek these treatments to address actual concerns, those with smile dysmorphia do so to an unhealthy degree. They may damage their teeth with dental whitening kits, follow trends to reshape their own teeth or gums, or never be satisfied with the results of cosmetic care.
Get Help For Smile Dysmorphia
If you have serious concerns about your smile’s appearance, consult your dentist. They can help you determine what can be done to address your aesthetic concerns. Further, they can serve as a checkpoint to determine if your goals are unrealistic. If they suspect you suffer from smile dysmorphia, they can direct you to a qualified mental health care provider to get help.