A funny thing happened back in the early months of pandemic life, as stay-at-home orders persisted. Ever more of our life was lived online, increasingly through video chat, and a lot of people became very self-conscious about their appearance.

After all, we were looking at ourselves more than ever, and the more you look at anything, the more you notice things that could be improved.

Suddenly, plastic surgeons were seeing an uptick in new patient requests. So were dentists offering a full slate of cosmetic services. Less invasive treatments such as orthodontics were especially in demand.

And that demand never really dropped, even as the world opened up again and people became less reliant on Zoom and similar apps. Still, those apps continue to offer opportunities to think about how you can look even better.

A recent paper in the BDJ explores this increased demand – what drove it and the ongoing effects of those forces, particularly with respect to orthodontics.

We certainly saw increased demand here in our own office, where we pride ourselves in providing cosmetic dental services holistically and biologically, to support whole body health and well-being. A beautiful, well-balanced, and properly aligned smile is an asset not only to your self-esteem but your physical health, as well.

In fact, a recent study out of Japan aimed to fill some of the gaps in our knowledge of the relationship between the bite and systemic health. They found several conditions to be associated with various types of malocclusion (bad bites), including allergic rhinitis, asthma, and arrhythmia. An association was also found with bleeding gums, a sure sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

But for many people, improved appearance is the main motivation, and why not? A smile is one of the very first things you notice about a person. More, its appearance has real world consequences. As the authors of the BDJ paper noted,

research indicates that a more attractive smile has a positive impact upon employment and earning potential. A recent study in Brazil investigating the perceptions formed by non-dentists when looking at a photograph of a person with misaligned teeth concluded that severe malocclusions were associated with seeing the person as older, less intelligent, less likely to deliver timely obligations and significantly less likely to be considered suitable for employment. Using eye tracking technology, 90 participants were shown a series of photographic portraits of one man and one woman, both middle-aged and depicting various levels of malocclusion. This was followed by a yes/no questionnaire on the image sets, including the item: ‘if you had to search for someone to work with you, would you consider hiring this person?’ Consistent with other studies, the finding was that a straight smile is associated with improved employability for both men and women and that poorer smile aesthetics are associated with decreased employability. There seems some basis, then, for adding work-related reasons to adult motivations for smile-enhancing treatments.

And in straightening the smile, aligners like Invisalign are the clear winner – pun intended – because they’re unnoticeable, not to mention more comfortable than conventional brackets. The authors cite other research, similar to that Brazilian study, which showed that others also tend to have more positive feelings towards people with clear aligners than those wearing brackets.

Invisalign is also far more biocompatible than conventional metal brackets, which often contain toxic metals such as nickel and stainless steel.

Of course, Invisalign is just one of the cosmetic services we offer here in our San Diego clinic. We offer a full range, including smile whitening, veneers, ceramic implants, and more, so you can get the attractive smile you’ve always wanted but do so in a way that’s kind to your body, BIO-compatible – compatible with life.