When most people think about a smile makeover, they focus on the idea of what their teeth look like when smiling. After all, isn’t that what cosmetic dentistry is for, to give us a bright, beautiful smile?
Yes, your smile is a big part of the reason why you are probably considering getting your teeth fixed, but it’s not the only situation we should consider.
Most People Don’t Smile That Much
How much of your day do you spend smiling? That’s a hard question to answer. There are a few, unscientific estimates out there. At the lower end, it’s estimated that adults smile seven times a day (including one fake or “social” smile), while at the upper end it’s estimated that we might smile 20 times a day. If we go with the upper estimate and assume that each smile lasts 15-30 seconds, then you’re probably smiling about seven and a half minutes a day.
Admittedly, the times you smile are often really important, such as when you’re making a first impression when networking, interviewing, or dating.
Eating Exposes Your Teeth Much More
But there are other times you’re also showing off your teeth a lot. Estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that we spend about 1.17 hours a day eating and drinking. That’s 70 minutes a day, almost ten times more time than we spend smiling. Even if you only show your teeth a little bit when you’re eating, you’re probably showing your teeth more when eating than when smiling.
Your Teeth Do the Talking
But even more than eating, we show our teeth off when talking. Studies show that people may spend 70-80% of their waking hours in communication, of which 30% is conversation. That’s a huge chunk of time, about three hours spent in conversation every day. If you are a good communicator and split that time with your partners, you’re showing off your teeth about and hour and a half every day when talking, over ten times as much as you show them when smiling. And you’re showing more of your teeth because many sounds require you to open your mouth fully, exposing back teeth you might have thought were hidden.
And, like smiling, this tooth show is often at vital moments. When a person is considering your words, their eyes are focused partly on your mouth to interpret what you’re saying, and they’re making vital conclusions about how they feel about you as a speaker.
How Does This Change Your “Smile Makeover”?
When you’re considering cosmetic dentistry, we have to keep our minds open about what cosmetic improvements might make the biggest improvement in the appearance of your teeth. Sure, porcelain veneers can give you a nice smile, but maybe it’s also important to address some old, black metal fillings in the back of your mouth, too. And a missing molar may not be as out of sight as you think, which may make dental implants a priority.
During your consultation, we will consider all the options and offer you several treatment plans that can get you great results.