Having a smile you can feel proud of can drastically improve your self image and confidence. Over the last twenty years or so, more and more medical researchers are realizing the need to understand the relationship between clinical orthodontic treatment and the psychosocial results of orthodontic care. While measuring self confidence is very subjective, it is important for doctors to understand the connection between orthodontic care and self esteem so that we can serve our patients better and more thoroughly.
Can orthodontic care really affect my self image?
The answer is yes! Orthodontists call this oral health-related quality of life, or OHRQoL. This fancy and technical term essentially refers to the relationship between a patient’s oral health and overall well being. OHRQoL provides a framework for understanding how orthodontic care can and does affect other aspects of a patient’s life. Evidence has shown that OHRQoL often improves after orthodontic treatment. This makes logical sense, as correcting dental issues that can cause insecurity often makes self confidence and comfort more possible.
Doctors and researchers refer to this result as the psychosocial impact of dental esthetics. While the actual clinical exploration of these psychological aspects of orthodontic treatment are relatively new, orthodontic patients have been reporting greater confidence and self esteem after having their teeth straightened for a very long time. Countless patients of our own have come back to share their testimonials with us, and nothing makes us happier than hearing that our work has improved our patients’ lives!
Is confidence really that important?
Yes! Your self image actually impacts your life substantially. From a young age, a child’s ability to interact with and smile at new people, laugh without feeling embarrassed, and consider themselves worthy of attention and accomplishments all affect their quality of life and their resilience. As an adult this is still true, with additional advantages like feeling more comfortable communicating pleasantly in job interviews.
In general, smiling is very important to our health. Studies have shown that smiling for a few seconds can make you happier by engaging the same facial muscles you use when you are actually happy. Smiling has also been known to reduce the production of stress-response hormones and encourage the production of mood-enhancing hormones. Of course this is not a long term solution to more enduring issues that may cause unhappiness, but the ability to quickly brighten your own mood when faced with challenges is very powerful.
How can my orthodontist help?
Your orthodontist should be aware of the ways that their work and the end results of your treatment can affect your life. There are many orthodontic options available, such as Invisalign, that may fit into your lifestyle better than traditional metal braces. No matter which option you choose, it is important to keep the results of your treatment in mind. A year or two of braces is more than worth the lifetime of confident smiles that comes after!
The most important part of your orthodontic treatment is you! If you are ready to take the next step toward a confident smile, schedule a consultation with us today!