We floss, we brush, we whiten, and we visit our dentists three times a year. Or more, or less, depending on the state of our teeth and gums. With all that dental care and visits, it’s surprising that anyone has tooth decay anymore. In fact, a visit to the dentist (not pictured above, but not too far from reality in my childhood days) nowadays is often just a cleaning, an assessment of our oral health (yes, my dentist has started to check for oral cancer now), and the admonition to floss more on this side or that side (we’re Canadians, we still floss).
So, if our teeth are rarely decayed now and necessitating repair, just what does a dentist do to earn a living? Well, they want you to go for implants. Whiten your teeth the “safe” way. Straighten crooked teeth. All for a better smile. In fact, do not be surprised to see your dentist pull out a camera next time you visit.
And, here’s where the research on smile gets interesting (granted, it’s one performed back in 2007, but stay with us, we’re trying to write an article here). According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), dentists rate a patient’s smile different (usually lower, on a scale of 100 points) than the patient rates his or her own smile. On the average, it turns out that patients are more satisfied with their own smiles (that they rated from memory) than dentists are (rating from photographs). Of course, while we look at our smile as a whole, dentists zero in on lip lines, tooth shade, spacing, and crowding.
So, it’s important to know that your perception of what constitutes a beautiful smile may well be different than that of your dentist. You may both not be speaking the same language and so you may be surprised by the final results if you simply put your total trust in your dentist. Trust me, I speak from painful personal experience. One of my ex-dentists (I’ve had a few) shaved a tooth I particularly liked and if my smile looks kinda strange to you today, I have him to thank for.
It’s interesting to note that the study participants were not actively seeking cosmetic dental treatments, so, getting a more beautiful smile has not quite become a “need” yet (in Norway at least, where the study took place), not something that many people go to their dentist and specifically ask for. (Uh, I guess it is becoming more common if you live in areas where your neighbors and colleagues do those things. Peer pressure, and all.)
But, don’t be surprised if next time you visit, your dentist asks you to smile while he or she takes a picture of your face. And then proceeds to tell you how your lip line is crooked, teeth require more whitening, straightening, spacing, etc. and offers pricey treatments to get that perfect, Hollywood smile. If you are like me, it’s difficult to say, No. Buy you can, and should, say, NO, with a satisfied smile — and save yourself thousands of dollars and pain. So, anyways, do remember to do your makeup before you visit your dentist because you never know when you will be on camera.
If you are a dentist (or our family dentist is reading this), this being a photography blog, let us recommend to you a camera that is not only great for general-purpose photography, but also has the latest-generation integrated face detection and smile detection (which is a serious field of study at the Dept. of Computer Science and Information Engineering, National Taiwan University). You can even set it to recognize different degree of smiles: Slight (“smirk”), Normal (“smile”), Big (“laugh”). It will save you lots of trial and error to focus on your patient’s face and capture his or her smile at just the right moment. If you order by clicking a link on our site, now, THAT will put a smile on our lips, crooked or not.
You can buy the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II at B&H:
– Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II Digital Camera
– FotodioX Pro Metal Hand Grip for Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II
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