During our work for the TV show Smile, we helped our patient Melissa to face and overcome not just the physical state of her teeth, but also the emotional hardship that came along with her poor oral health. Unfortunately, Melissa isn’t alone. Many people experience a lot of emotional pain alongside teeth that are unhealthy, damaged, or unattractive.
Unlike many injuries in our past, our teeth don’t heal. Cuts and bruises, even broken bones will knit with time. But injuries to our teeth are like our emotional injuries: they don’t heal on their own.
Instead, every time you look in the mirror and see your teeth you are brought back to your past. You might see the signs of economic hardship or neglect. You might see a history of drug use, including legal drug use, like tobacco or alcohol. You might see an injury related to a violent or careless past.
Those signs remain in your teeth until you have them repaired.
Our teeth are also intimately related to how we communicate with other people. Healthy, straight teeth help us speak clearly.
And your smile is an essential part of your first impression. It’s the first thing people will see and remember about us. When an unhealthy or unattractive smile creates a bad first impression, it can make it hard to establish relationships with others, including both personal and professional ones.
As a result, poor teeth can lead us to feel emotionally isolated and even depressed.
It’s important to remember that we don’t just smile because we’re happy–we’re happy because we smile. The muscles in our face stimulate feedback circuits that communicate with our brain to tell us that we’re happy.
When you feel uncomfortable about your smile, it leads you to avoid smiling. This prevents you from enjoying the positive feedback and can lead you into a deeper depression.
If you are unhappy with the health or appearance of your teeth, we can help you turn it around. By erasing the marks of your past, helping you establish firm personal and professional relationships, and giving you a smile you will be happy to share, we can help you enjoy an emotionally richer and more positive life.