Question #1 - Do you feel dissatisfied with your smile?
Question #2 - Do you want your smile to be more reflective of your health
Wouldn't you say those two questions say pretty much the same thing?
Actually, they represent two very different paths to cosmetic dentistry. The first question is about current pain and focuses on relieving the discomfort felt by having an unattractive smile. The second is about future potential and focuses on enjoying the benefits of having a terrific smile. Two completely different emotional directions.
People consider cosmetic dentistry for different reasons. Some feel very unhappy with their current situation. Others feel enthusiastic about the possibilities for enhancement. Even with similar needs, there's a world of difference between the primary emotions that drive these people.
As you can see, those two questions speak to entirely different people... Which one speaks to you?
This is your smile, your journey. Our role at Royal York Dental is to serve as your guides and trusted advisors. As you explore your options for a more attractive smile, we'll reveal possibilities and offer you our recommendations.
We see a wide variety of issues with smiles, but that's not main thing. It's the person behind the smile that matters most. How much emphasis do you place on the appearance of smiles? How much do you connect your smile to your personal identity? How do you feel about your smile in particular? Those are the main things.
Message from Dr. Joe Bulger:
So, you're thinking about Smile Enhancement?
Well done! That means you've already taken the first step. Some people just reject anything to do with cosmetic dentistry. They nevergive themselves permission to even consider the possibilities. They may not realize that their smile could be a turnoff and the very thing that's holding them back.
Cosmetic Dentistry isn't just about transforming smiles - it's about transforming lives. It's truly magical when someone can make the transition from embarrassment to total confidence, from despair to hope. I've watched people experience newfound energy and enthusiasm from having a beautiful smile.
Enhancing your smile is totally optional and you can decide when and how far to go with it. The steps involved might be simple, they might be complicated.Every smile is unique and every situation a little different. We've helped many others to rejuvenate their smiles. Some had full makeovers, some just needed a few touchups.
Ultimately it's YOUR DREAM, your smile, your future, and you can count on us to help get you there.
I look forward to meeting you soon,
People start from very different places. They have different challenges with their smiles, and different visions of what they want their smiles to be. They have different budgets, different expectations and move at drastically different paces.
You can have lots of challenges with your smiles. Chipped, worn, discoloured, decayed, missing - there's plenty that can go wrong. Yet, the biggest difference isn't in the condition of your teeth and smile... It's in the distinctly different mindset you can have towards health and beauty.
The following list represents some different ways people first present themselves to us. Perhaps you can identify with one or more of these Smile Styles. Perhaps you can relate them to other people you know. They're all based on different mindsets. We had fun creating them and we hope you'll have fun reading them.
Note: Don't take anything personally. Whatever Smile Style you might currently be, that doesn't mean you're stuck there. Just as smiles can be transformed, values can shift and mindsets can change.
Whatever your current Smile Style, we look forward to helping you achieve a healthy breautiful smile.
1. The Flaw. Has something about your smile been a source of embarrassment?
Some people make the connection that their smile is an important part of their identity. When someone feels very self-conscious about a few particular aspects of their smile, correcting those few flaws could provide a huge boost.
Ever see those dramatic Smile Makeovers on shows such as Extreme Makeover and The Swan? Those were cases where people were transformed from ordinary to beautiful... from flawed to flawless... from broken to whole again.
The tipoff for the Flaw is when someone has smile issues that significantly compromise their smile. It's understandable they feel embarrassed about smiling.
These people aren't necessarily looking for beautiful, What they really want is an end to their self-consciousness so they can just feel normal.
2. The Perfectionist. Do you have unreasonably high standards for your smile?
Some people have attractive smiles but they're still unhappy. Some people have a tendency to obsess over anything less than perfect. They focus on what's wrong and are unable to maintain a balanced view that takes into account all the things that are right.
The tipoff for Perfectionists is their overly-critical nature. They're very hard on themselves. They'll resist smiling much like the Flaw, but whatever issues they may have with their smile seem tiny by comparison.
The trouble with Perfectionists is they'll never be happy with how they look. Even with dramatic Smile Makeover they'll find something wrong and obsess over that tiniest of things.
3. The Setback. Do you have something chipped, lost or broken that shows when you smile?
Some people aren't really concerned about their smile except when something breaks down to the point that their smile becomes an obvious liability to their overall appearance. It's easy to take things for granted until a serious compromise occurs.
The tipoff for a Setback is when someone loses or breaks something and they want it fixed immediately.
These people tend to be fairly neutral on smiles and wouldn't normally consider Cosmetic Dentistry. Things change once their smile suffers a setback. The alarm bells go off and they become highly motivated.
For most of us, aversion to loss is more powerful than the attraction to gain. Having your smile sink down to a liability tends to be far more motivating than the opportunity to elevate it up to a higher level.
4. The Tweak. Are you looking for an upgrade, such as whiter teeth?
Most people are interested in knowing the options and possibilities for their smile. Even if they're reasonable satisfied, most are willing to consider potential upgrades.
The Tweak style is the comfortable middle-ground where a good many people fall. Some are reasonably content with the status quo and lukewarm to the idea of Cosmetic Dentistry. They don't feel all that uncomfortable about their smile nor do they feel all that excited about the possibilities.
Without more emotional relevancy, there's not enough incentive to proceed with Smile Enhancement. After all, if you didn't feel "the juice was worth the squeeze" why would you even bother?
Tweaks tend to move at a slower pace. Some will pick up the pace once they've enjoyed some easy gains such as whiter teeth. Some will idle along until somebody or something provokes them. Perhaps they get an unexpected setback such as a broken tooth. That can sure get their attention.
Sometimes a comment from someone else is the wakeup call a Tweak needs. One of our patients had sat on the fence for years regarding some much-needed Cosmetic Dentistry. He came rushing in to start the work the day after his daughter told him, "Daddy, your teeth are yucky!"
The tipoff for Tweaks is that they're somewhat content but still open to the possibility of making improvements.
The key to helping a Tweak is to emotionally engage them and encourage then to take even just a small step forward. Anything to help break the paralysis of the status quo.
5. The Buff. Do you love looking and feeling your best?
Some people enjoy keeping fit. They maintain a fit body, a controlled diet and a well-groomed appearance. Others kind of let themselves go.
Buffs appreciate an attractive smile and all the positive attention they receive for being so fit and attractive. They tend to look fabulous at any age.
The tipoff for Buffs is their dedication to personal fitness and looking their best. You hardly need to make any effort to convince a Buff on the merits of a healthy, beautiful smile. They exude tremendous energy and enthusiastically consider self-improvement such as enhancing their smile.
Buffs are like Tweaks that move at a much faster pace... Buffs will say "YES!" while Tweaks will continue to sit back and say "I'll think about it."
6. The Frump. Do you have little concern for your appearance?
Some people let themselves go in terms of outward appearance, including their smile.
The dictionary defines frumpy as "A person with lack of concern for appearance. Someone regarded as dull, plain or unfashionable."
The tipoff for Frumps is low standards for personal fitness and appearance. These are the opposite of Buffs. They can appear somewhat shabby and unconcerned about fitness and appearance.
This style tends to be more common for males, though it's more often females who would be labeled as frumpy. Perhaps that's because they defy traditional female norms, just as a hetrosexual males obsessed with personal appearance (metrosexuals) defy male norms.
If anything, the gender lines are more blurred nowadays.
7. The Faded Glory. Do you feel your once-gorgeous smile has lost its luster.
Some people had a very attractive smile in their youth, but now their beauty has faded. They want to recapture their youthful vitality and are willing to make the effort to revitalize their smile.
This is a common pattern with parents. For twenty-plus years they've primarily focused on the children. Now that the children have finally grown and left the nest, the parents are finally willing to invest in themselves.
The tipoff for Faded Glory is seeing hidden beauty waiting and eager to shine again. Sometimes all these people need is a little encouragement and help taking that first step.
8. The Perfect 10. Are you passionate about beauty? Some people are fanatical in their pursuit of beauty. Some are aficionados about smiles in particular. They're attuned to all the little nuances of Smile Design and want the very best smile possible.
The tipoff to Perfect 10's is their discerning eye and depth of knowledge. They're very particular. These people are experts in beauty and want the best results possible. Like the Perfectionist, these people are demanding. They're very fussy rather than self-critical.
9. The Worn-Out. Does your smile look like it's had too many miles on it?
Some people have teeth that look worn and aged. For years their smile wasn't high on their priority list. Now they know their smile is due for a major overhaul.
The tipoff for the Worn-Out is their teeth look every bit their age and then some. Like old shoes worn right down through the sole, they're in serious need of a rebuild.
10. The Deniers. Do you believe having a youthful, attractive smile isn't an appropriate choice for you?
Some people will wear attractive clothes, style their hair, travel in style, but deny themselves permission to have a more attractive smile. Perhaps they can accept external fashion, but believe enhancing anything on their body would be considered a serious lapse towards vanity. Perhaps they had a dentist that convinced them that dentistry was only about health issues and beauty had no place within a dental office.
Many people slumber away in a frumpy-smile mode, unwilling to consider any possibilities for their smile. Sometimes it's a cultural thing whereby attractive smiles are not highly valued... Some people seem to have unwritten rules about what is acceptable and what is not - with Cosmetic Dentistry falling on the side of vain and frivolous... Some people are traditionalists, following their parent's ways, who followed their grandparent's ways... Some people have been influenced by an old-style dentist and remain stuck in a disease-based approach to dentistry.
The tipoff for Deniers is incongruency. They look attractive in many ways - clothing, hair, makeup and such. Just not their teeth. They may be aware of possibilities for their smile, but reject any notion of Smile Enhancement.
Unless they have a setback, many Deniers don't bother with the appearance of their smile. Yet, they remain conflicted. Unlike the Tweaks and Frumps, the Deniers do care about appearance. They just won't give themselves permission to enhance their smile. A high percentage of this type are married. They feel less inclined to make the effort to look attractive, or they feel that any cosmetic expenditure is wasteful and inappropriate.
Part of our role as a Cosmetic Dentist Practice is to wake people up to their potential. The tricky part in dealing with Deniers is they can be very sensitive. They may pretend to not care about the appearance of their smile, but they do. They can be greatly offended by any helpful suggestions, such as improving the colour of their teeth with Whitening.
11. The Anti-Beauty. Are you offended by the entire beauty industry and the pressure you believe it puts on people?
Some people do not strive to achieve beauty in any manner.They actually reject it.
These idealists are typically female. They were once a rare breed, but have increased in numbers as of late. They have strong convictions that run counter to many conventional trends.
The Anti-Beauties, as opposed to the slumbering Deniers or ultra-casual Frumps, are bold, strong and defiant to the core. They take an almost militant approach against consumerism, fashion and beauty.
The tipoff for the Anti-Beauty is their strong convictions and protest mentality. They reject beauty trends, wear unbranded or artisan clothing, and will make minimal effort to look attractive.
Anti-Beauties have strong convictions and will usually place high value on health and environmental issues. There's no confusion or incongruency here. These people take a very strong stance against the concept of beauty including any aspects of Cosmetic Dentistry.
12. The Grunge Mouth. Do you know people that act like they couldn't care less about their teeth?
Some people totally neglect their dental health and are oblivious to aspects of beauty. They have disturbingly deep needs, but no real interest or desire towards having a healthy beautiful smile.
The tipoff for a Grunge Mouth is the complete lack of effort on oral hygiene and low value for preventive dentistry. Not everyone cares about the appearance of their smile, but most still place health reasonably high on their priority list. Not the Grunge Mouth. They have extreme dental needs but make minimal effort to do anything about it.
Grunge Mouths aren't the type to suddenly get religious on smiles. A high percentage are males. Many men just don't get it when it comes to health and beauty. It's not a matter of high fear - it's a matter of low value.
Grunge Mouths are often an extreme form of Denier. Unless there's severe pain attached, dental issues typically get brushed aside and visiting a dentist only happens in times of crisis. The path they're on will probably involve plenty of pain and eventually losing all their teeth.
One variation of the Grunge Mouth that we occassionally come across is the Victim. These people are experts in blaming and excuses. They tend to make eveything someone else's responsibility and someone else's fault. They have poor self-care, a mouth full of problems and a long list of stories as to how others are to blame for their sad state of affairs.
You might think these Grunge Mouths would be the last ones to consider Cosmetic Dentistry. Not so. Dental health may be a low priority, but appearance can still be important to them. They'll care more about the ones that show - those "Social Six" top front teeth. Those tend to be the ones they're willing to fix. Once they've experience facial collapse from losing most of their back teeth, they might consider doing something about those ones.
There are strong socio-economic trends for Grunge Mouths. It's far more common with lower education and income levels.Yet there are still many well-educated people out there who could easily afford dental care and continue neglecting their dental health.
Drug addiction can quickly sink people to a Grunge Mouth level. One of the obvious signs of Crystal Meth addiction is what's called Meth Mouth. These addicts no longer make any effort with oral hygiene and suffer from rampant tooth decay due to loss of saliva.
Been neglecting your smile?
13. The Neglected. Have you let things go for a long time?
Some people appreciate a healthy and attractive smile, but have avoided the dentist due to fear or finances. Some people come from poor backgrounds or have grown up in remote rural communities. They're stuck in a pattern of neglect partly because they've never known a better way.
Dentists can be partly responsible. Perhaps you've steadily been going to the dentist, but there was never any mention of the possibility of Smile Enhancement. At one time, most dentists tended to focus only on aspects of health, not on the appearance of your smile. That still happens. Some people are left in the dark on the possibilities for Cosmetic Dentistry.
The tipoff for the Neglected is having issues with their smile, but no awareness of those issues or their options. It's like they've just stepped out a timewarp from a few generations ago.
If they have a lot of dental health issues, these people could easily be mistaken as Grunge Mouths. There's a huge difference. The Neglected have been lost in the dark and make an immediate dramatic shift once they finally see the light. They just needed someone to show them the way.
Unlike Grunge Mouths, the Neglected tend to be fantastic patients. The rapid transformation they undergo in both dental fitness and appearance can be dramatic.
Sometimes it's best not to rush these people into advanced levels of Cosmetic Dentistry. They may have health issues that first need attention, and because they've been in the dark so long, they may need a little time to acclimatize to the idea of Cosmetic Dentistry.
About the Author: Dr. Joe Bulger is a cosmetic dentist from Toronto, Canada and the owner-founder of Royal York Dental.
If you're looking for a cosmetic-oriented dentist, our team at Royal York Dental can help. We're open six days a week and can often offer same-day service. Fill out our contact form or CALL 416 231-0550. Download our free dental emergency guide.
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