The Incredible Power of a Smile

by Dr Anthony Hua

The Incredible Power of a Smile

A simple smile can bear so much meaning. What a difference a smile can make to a person’s day. We all love the reward of making other people smile. It’s human nature to strive to make others happy. A smile is the raw human expression of joy, happiness, kindness and love. It’s our most positive facial expression. It’s for these very reasons that we naturally, and quite deeply want our own smiles to be attractive.

In this post we’re going to explore the health benefits and science behind the smile. We’ll also touch on a few theories, a little woo woo, probably a few emotions, and discuss what options are open to you if flashing your own toothy grin doesn’t bring you joy.

If you find yourself keeping your smile hidden from the world, you’re doing yourself and others a great disservice. You can turn that frown upside down with confidence.

The origins of the smile

Charles Darwin penned an idea on where our smile came from in his book “The Expression of emotions in Men and Animals.” He touched on a loose theory that humans may have adopted the behaviour of animals bearing their teeth in a predatory expression, which lost it’s fear factor when more tribes utilised the smile as a simple greeting.

While it is widely believed that smiling is the result of “happy chemical” triggers from within our body, Dr Nakia Gordon, an emotion expert and associate professor of psychology states that the act of smiling can improve your mood – even if you’re feeling less than smiley.

Dr Gordon’s research indicates we can ‘trick’ our brain into releasing the neurochemicals that make us feel happy by smiling. Apparently when our smiling muscles contract, they fire a signal back to the brain to let it know it must’ve missed something, and we need the good feelings to go with our grin.

The study of why we smile has left many scientists baffled.

It appears that how the smile came to be is somewhat of a divine mystery. But what we can all agree upon today is our reasons for smiling – and there are many.

Why do we smile?

We smile to be polite, we smile when we’re anxious or nervous, we smile in reply to another smile. We smile because smiling is contagious – a beautiful disease that needs no treatment. As well as smiling out of pure unadulterated joy when we just can’t help it, we smile for social reasons, and for the benefit of other people.

Smiling makes you look more friendly, happy and approachable. When we meet someone new, we often smile to make them feel more comfortable, and us feel more likeable. Children smile all the time (on average 400 times per day in fact), that’s what makes them so fun to be around. Most parents can’t help but melt at their toddler’s gorgeous smile, despite what cheeky atrocity they’ve just committed.

Smiling is good for your health

We humans are a complex network of internal and external signals. What can smiling every day do for our health?

Smile more, stress less

Smiling can lower your stress levels and increase productivity. One study split participants into smiling and non-smiling groups and subjected them to stressful and challenging tasks. The smiley folk emerged with lower stress levels and decreased heart rates in comparison to their frowny counterparts.

It’s better than chocolate?

Well that’s what author Ron Gutman tells us. According to the “Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act” author, British researchers discovered one smile can stimulate the brain at the same level of up to 2,000 chocolate bars. We have to question who had to partake in 2,000 chocolate bars to reach this conclusion – and what became of their teeth! Here’s a TED talk from Ron if you’re interested to learn more.

Smiling Improves Relationships

Beyond smiling across the room to catch a date, a genuine smile at your coworkers can create a moment of connection and energy that can lead to increased productivity and teamwork. People in the service industry smile for good reason, it has a positive effect on their customers and the buyer experience. When you send out positive vibes, it makes you feel great to see other people enjoying your smile.

What if you don’t like your own smile?

For those who feel like you’ve been dealt with less than perfect teeth, or your smile has deteriorated over time it can be quite debilitating. You might feel embarrassed, or self-conscious about smiling. These are two very powerful negative emotions that nobody would want to repeat continuously throughout the day, so sadly, you might actively avoid smiling. The good news is, whatever your smile woes, there is a solution.

Helping someone overcome smile self-consciousness and wear their grin with confidence is something us cosmetic dentists are very honoured to be able to contribute to a person’s life. Restoring a beautiful smile can have a profound and lasting effect.

What makes you dislike your smile? And what can be done?

Broken, chipped or cracked teeth

Please don’t put off repairing broken, chipped or cracked teeth! The longer they are left the quicker they can worsen and lead to significant additional damage. Depending on the severity of the problem and condition of your teeth, your cosmetic dentist may be able to restore the shape and appearance through cosmetic contouring. Other trauma can be masked by veneers, or a full or partial dental crown. More severe damage may be very painful and feel like the end of the world; but with a sound professional assessment and treatment plan, we’ll have you on your way to your best smile in no time.

Stubborn stains and discolouration

When a thorough routine clean just can’t restore those pearly whites, all is not lost. Many people try over-the-counter whitening toothpaste and teeth whitening treatments with little success and feel like that’s all they can do. Only dental professionals truly know how to whiten teeth fast and effectively using the best whitening products on the market. We can achieve results for a smile up to eight shades lighter!

If you’d rather not have a whitening treatment performed at the clinic, we can supply you with a custom-made DIY take-home teeth whitening kit for comfortable, worry-free whitening at your own pace.

Gummy smile

If you feel like you show too much gum and not enough teeth when you smile, there’s something that can be done! Worrying about a gummy smile can cause many people to hold back from their full, authentic beaming smile.

Using the right specialised dental laser equipment and technique a gum recontouring treatment can result in the perfect balance of symmetry and proportion to your smile. A soft tissue crown-lengthening procedure should be virtually painless, efficient and long-lasting.

A simple gum lift can make all the difference to your smiling confidence.

Gaps between teeth

Although gaps can occur anywhere, they typically appear between the two upper front teeth – your most prominent teeth. Noticeable gaps between teeth can be quite bothersome for their owners, especially when your smile is otherwise perfect. Great news! You don’t necessarily need braces to bridge the gap! Porcelain veneers can be applied to rectify the gaps between your teeth in a relatively simple procedure that will last many years with careful preparation and bonding techniques using quality materials.

Crookedness and malalignment

Crooked teeth need braces right? Not if you have the right cosmetic team on your side. Depending on your smile goals and severity of the crookedness or malalignment you can achieve your perfect smile through a smile makeover.

Your cosmetic dentist should be able to present you with a range of options to perfect your smile. Contouring, reshaping, porcelain veneers and crowns. You might require one simple cosmetic procedure, or a mixture to achieve your Hollywood smile.

One or several missing teeth

Whether because of decay, trauma or disease it can be tough to say farewell to a tooth and accept the gap that is left behind. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be forever. Shortly following the healing of an extracted tooth, and in some cases immediately, there are several treatment options that can restore a smile with prosthetic solutions that look and feel just like real teeth. These treatment options may include dental implants, bridges or dentures.

What constitutes the perfect smile?

You can probably blame ancient dentists for deciding how the perfect smile should look. But without them, us modern cosmetic dentists may not have the technology and skill to help you achieve the best smile that is perfect for you. There are many factors that contribute to the ‘perfect’ smile. What looks amazing on another face may not be ideal for yours.

A great cosmetic dentist will take into account:

  • Your age and gender
  • Facial features
  • Facial midline versus dental midline and long axis
  • Your complexion

As well as several other teeth-specific, gum-specific and occlusal factors.

Every dentist should employ the latest modern techniques and equipment, and top of the range materials.

This ensures your bespoke cosmetic treatment truly enhances your unique smile whilst being long-lasting and in perfect harmony with your facial form. We strive for your perfect smile that suits your style, and looks flawless, yet natural.

The power of a smile can’t be denied

Overall, smiling is a gift to others and yourself. The experience of an authentic smile should be contagious, euphoric, heartwarming and uplifting. It should have a positive impact on your health, wellbeing and your social and professional life. The act of smiling is simple yet very powerful, it should never make you feel embarrassed, shy or anxious. If it does, let’s do something about it so you can reap all the benefits of the best expression a human face can give.

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Theresa

dr anthony huaArticle by Dr Anthony Hua – Principal Dentist

Dr Anthony Hua is the Founder & Principal Dentist at Burleigh Dental Studio. His passion, expertise and dedication to the field of dentistry have been recognised by his achievement of Fellowship status with the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry (ASID) and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI).

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