Healthy Smiles By Rita Tempel, DDS – This column was published in the Gettysburg Times on February 20, 2020
I’m going to go on the record and say…I think it’s more important to set goals rather than New Year’s resolutions.
And I’ll tell you why:
When you set a goal, you are working toward that end result, which can take time and effort. Reaching that goal doesn’t happen overnight—it happens over time, often with life-changing benefits.
Now let me ask you an important question about your daily habits: Do you smile often or rarely?
Every smile is unique, just as we are all unique people. But many people are unhappy with their smiles. If people know their teeth aren’t healthy, or if they are ashamed of their teeth, they fight the urge to smile, and literally train themselves not to smile. As a dentist, this makes me extremely sad. It probably makes you feel sad, too.
If you—or someone you know—rarely smiles, here are three key questions to ask yourself for your very own smile evaluation:
- When you look in the mirror and smile, is there anything you would change about your smile?
- Do you feel your smile is an important asset in your personal and professional life?
- What is stopping you from having that picture-perfect smile?
Your honest answers to these questions, could help you set a new goal for 2020—to smile more. Habits are learned over time, and they can also be changed over time. I’ve seen it happen! And when people learn how to smile again, it is one of the most beautiful and rewarding aspects of my job.
I want to share some exciting personal news with you: For years, I have been studying and working toward a big goal of my own, that I recently reached. I am proud to announce that I am now an Accredited Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry—the sixth dentist to achieve this credential in the entire state of Pennsylvania!
What exactly is cosmetic dentistry and why am I passionate about it?
It’s about setting goals in partnership with patients and then helping them achieve those goals. Often, the goals include smile makeovers!
Cosmetic dentistry and smile makeovers are much more than attaining “white teeth.” In fact, when I begin working with a smile makeover patient, color or tooth shade is the last thing I evaluate.
First, I evaluate a patient’s smile in relation to his or her face. Next, I examine the soft tissues like the lips and gums, and how their appearance relates to the teeth. Then, the teeth are evaluated: shape, length, width, angulation, edges, anatomy, texture and colors. That’s right—colors. Teeth are not comprised of one color. Did you ever notice someone with dental work that looked fake? Usually an unnaturally bright white smile, without texture, looks fake.
Being part of the smile makeover process and witnessing the transformation patients make, in their health, physically and emotionally, is an incredible experience. This process often causes a ripple effect of positive events in patients’ lives. Sometimes patients have not dated for a long time, but begin dating again; I’ve also seen patients increase their job opportunities. But most of all, I’ve witnessed transformations in patients’ happiness. Quite often, when we review before and after photos of their smiles, they say, “I can’t believe I lived that way for so long.”
So I ask you, what are your smile goals for 2020 and what are you going to do about it?”
Dr. Rita Tempel is an Accredited Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry at Gettysburg Smiles, 2018 York Road, Gettysburg. For more information, see GettysburgSmiles.com, follow Gettysburg Smiles on Instagram (@ritatempeldds), Facebook, or call 717-339-0033.