The importance of your smile speaks for itself. Your smile allows you to communicate without words and interact with the world around you, hopefully with a sense of carefree self-confidence. If not, you’re not alone.

Though we may feel too shy or proud to admit it, many of us would like to correct cosmetic imperfections and lift our smile’s overall aesthetic. Feeling anything but happy with our smile’s appearance can dampen our self-esteem, fuel social anxiety, and stand in the way of professional, personal, or romantic opportunities.  

If improving your smile’s appearance is a goal you’d like to achieve, empower your decision-making process with these 7 little known facts on what cosmetic dentistry is and aims to achieve.  

1. Cosmetic and restorative dentistry are often combined.

Many cosmetic dental procedures—such as dental bonding and porcelain crowns and bridges—restore and beautify your smile at the same time. These versatile procedures repair, protect, and strengthen teeth that are broken, damaged or decayed while restoring your smile’s radiance, fullness, and symmetry.

If you’ve been avoiding dental work, such as cavity treatment or tooth replacement, because you fear an obvious or unnatural outcome, rest assured. A dentist skilled in cosmetic and restorative dentistry can help you repair compromised teeth and achieve a perfectly natural look.

2. Cosmetic treatments can help you improve your oral health and function.

Good oral health includes clean teeth, healthy gums, and optimum jaw alignment. While some cosmetic concerns—such as crookedness, weakness, and chips—may seem purely cosmetic, they can impact your oral health and function. Long-term, these multifaceted dental issues can lead to undesirable oral health consequences, including jaw pain, accelerated wear on tooth surfaces, and cavities.

Certain cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain bridges and limited orthodontics, can correct a minor malocclusion (misalignment of your teeth or bite), help properly distribute the force of chewing, make it easier for you to keep your teeth clean, and prevent jaw discomfort and uneven wear of your teeth.  

Before any cosmetic treatments, your dentist will help you achieve a healthy foundation for your cosmetic treatments by thoroughly cleaning your teeth and helping you treat any existing oral health issues, such as gingivitis or tooth decay.  

3. Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatment.

Relatively affordable and non-invasive, professional teeth whitening quickly gives your smile new life and youthful radiance. Popular amongst patients who are already happy with their smile’s overall appearance, professional teeth whitening is available as an in-office treatment or a take-home kit. In as little as one office visit or a few weeks of at-home treatments, professional teeth whitening can remove years of stubborn stains and discoloration, infusing your smile with a bright, healthy glow.  

4. Porcelain veneers are the second most popular.

Some patients want to whiten their teeth and address cosmetic concerns. A highly customized treatment, porcelain veneers allow patients to get the whiter, brighter smile they seek while improving the size, shape, and alignment of their teeth. In some cases, porcelain veneers may also be used as a restorative option to repair minor chips, cracks, or breaks.  

5. Fixing your smile can boost your mood.

Did you know that you have as many as 19 distinct smile types? In addition to the well-known expressions of joy and contentment, your smile can also represent a range of simple and complex emotions from embarrassment, surprise, focus, and—of course—shenanigans!  

Smiling is a natural response to feeling happy and relaxed. Lucky for us, the connection between our smile and our brain is a two-way street. Consciously choosing to smile as though you’re happy and relaxed—even if you’re not—triggers your brain to feel the same. The act of smiling alone signals your brain to release dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins—your body’s natural feel-good chemicals.

While dopamine contributes to feelings of pleasure and endorphins reduce feelings of pain, serotonin reduces stress and elevates feelings of happiness and ease. If you hide your smile because you’re uncomfortable with its appearance, you may be missing out on your body’s built-in ability to enjoy the moment and shed excess stress. Cosmetic dentistry can empower you to feel more confident about sharing your smile each and every day.  

6. Cosmetic dentristy can help you nail your first impressions.

Do you know how long it takes to make a first impression? While estimates range from one-tenth of a second to two minutes, you get the idea that it doesn’t take much time for us to evaluate each other. In a matter of seconds, we assess everything from personality to intelligence.  

The impact of first impressions extends much farther than those first two minutes. Whether they’re favorable or not, first impressions can influence how people perceive and respond to you—even after they’ve gotten to know you better.

Across all age groups, a healthy and radiant smile makes you seem clever, attractive, and trustworthy. While cosmetic dental treatments can’t help you control some unavoidable first impression pitfalls—like running late due to traffic or spilling coffee on your shirt—they can help your smile consistently embody the confidence, attractiveness, and kindness you want to exude.     

7. In short, cosmetic dentistry can be totally life-changing.

By enhancing your oral health, social interactions, and self-confidence, cosmetic dentistry can positively influence multiple areas of your life. Confidence can heighten your sense of self-worth and self-esteem while inspiring you to stay committed to your goals, rise up to challenges, and navigate the unexpected.

Confidence arises from our personal beliefs, values, and lived experiences. It’s also strongly influenced by how we feel about our appearance. For most American adults, a healthy and attractive smile is key to feeling confident every day. By allowing you to improve your smile’s health and appearance, cosmetic dentistry lets you boost your overall health, increase your self-esteem, and experience the personal and professional benefits that confidence brings.    

As Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” We have to agree.

Also read: 5 Types of Cosmetic Dental Procedures You Need to Know About.