How many times have you looked in the mirror and cursed that rotated lateral incisor, worn canine or discolored and stained central incisor? How many times have you sat in the dental hygiene chair looking at promotional pictures of glamorous white teeth and sexy smiles and wondered if that could be you? Ready to pull the trigger and feel better about yourself? Ready to join the dentate elite?

If you’re on the edge but can’t muster the courage to make that call, fear not. The solution lies in your six month re-care visit. Invariably, sometime during the scraping and polishing of your dentition, in between the chit chat and local gossip shared between you and your hygienist, the subject will come up. The door will open; a seemingly innocent invitation into the world beyond natural teeth. You’re beckoned with a smile, a vision of health and beauty and the promise of deep inner satisfaction. These are powerful forces.

There is no harm walking through that door as long as you bring your good sense of objectivity with you. My advice? Don’t go food shopping on an empty stomach, don’t drink and drive and certainly don’t sign off on a cosmetic tooth makeover before you leave the dental office.

Since 2009, a bountiful collection of expletives describing our politicians, bankers and mortgage lenders still circulates indiscriminately. Few people  survived the economic retrenchment unscathed or unblemished. Fortunately, as bad as it was out there, a glass half-full and a cloud with a silver lining embellished many of us. Amazingly, the adaptability of our species was rarely more evident than during those uncertain times. As bank accounts shrunk, stock portfolios imploded and retirement plans were set aside an incredible survival mechanism kicked into gear. During times of crisis, with the efficiency of a laser guided missile, the human mind is capable of filtering its vast cache of perceived necessities into a manageable basket of priorities. We tend to draw upon inner strength, seek the refuge of human interaction and become less reliant on materialistic infusions to satisfy our boredom. Could it be that many of us subconsciously yearned for this?

Within our American urban sanctuaries not a day goes by without Madison Avenue bombardments. A swanky slathering of opulence smothers us. Handbags, shoes, jewelry, performance automobiles, plastic surgery enhancements and yes, porcelain laminate veneers abound. I’ve often imagined what the mastermind behind the creation of all these extravagances was like. A larger than life individual, perceptually light years ahead of others and likely responsible for creating necessity, fear and entitlement out of thin air. Or was he just a meager man masked behind a curtain of advertising dollars? The year was 1939. The man was Frank Morgan aka “The Wizard of Oz”. I ask myself was the Wizard the prototype of the Madison Avenue executive and are today’s tumultuous times a modern day reenactment of Dorothy’s adventure into Oz and eventual return to her grass roots in Kansas? We need to ask ourselves are we better off in Kansas or Oz?

When it comes to beautiful smiles it might be a two way street.  According to research psychologist and author Paul Ekman, happiness cannot be faked but a beautiful smile, even if voluntarily exposed can create positive feedback within ourselves while simultaneously lifting the spirits of those around us.  Likewise, John H. Lienhard in his writing Smiles That Make You Happy discusses forging our own happiness with a smile.  These references alone would seem to indisputably prove the case for “porcelain enhanced smiles” and provide sufficient evidence for the necessity of “dentally engineered smile creations,” especially with todays emphasis on individual promotion, image recognition and self branding.  On the other hand, the pathway to smile perfection is not always an ethereal bouquet of roses.  In the throes of cosmetic dental makeovers the future is not always what we perceive it to be.

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