If you suffer from oral health issues, you likely know the emotional cost of having a smile that isn’t as healthy as it could be.
Whether it’s a school photo or a meeting with stockholders, we want to look our best and smile confidently.
Emotional dentistry is a new industry trend that runs with this connection between our emotional and dental health. The premise is that by using principles usually reserved for mental therapy clinics, dentistry can be more satisfying for the patient, easier for the provider, and more effective as a treatment.
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The Emotion Connection in Dentistry
Studies show that nearly half of people wish they could change their smile. You’ve probably met at least one person like that (or maybe you are one). Our confidence levels rely on our self-consciousness, so if we’re thinking about how our teeth look, every interaction can be more difficult. This translates to our mental health: if smiling releases stress-relieving chemicals, refusing to smile can have the opposite effect.
Emotional dentistry proposes that this psychology of smiling can be used in a medical setting. Patients endure long-term treatment to get the symmetrical, aligned smiles that they associate with confidence and beauty. As an offshoot of cosmetic dentistry – treatment designed for the sole purpose of achieving an aesthetic change – emotional dentistry takes into account how patients feel about their treatment outlook. The goal is to make patients feel more confident and in control of their treatment.
Emotional Dentistry Methods
Offices that employ emotional dentistry techniques are at the cutting edge of modern dental practices. There are no set rules about what constitutes an emotional dentistry clinic. However, by using research on stress and patient well-being, several practices are becoming more common.
Studies have shown that VR technology has the potential to aid healthcare clinics by keeping patients distracted and calm. The same principle applies to dentistry. Particularly in a field that often treats children, this kind of distraction has wide-reaching potential benefits to the quality of care.
Dentists and orthodontists see patients suffering from stress or anxiety about their treatment, which not only makes the patient’s experience worse but can also make their treatment more difficult. Providing headphones or headsets with calming music and images can improve the standards of care for these patients.
3D Modeling Techniques
Dentistry has recently standardized 3D modeling techniques for use during the planning stages of treatment, allowing providers to assess a patient’s oral structures and create individualized appliances more accurately.
Emotional dentistry translates these techniques to other forms of patient care. For instance, providers can now show patients 3D models of what their teeth and face will look like when treatment has concluded. This gives patients a confident, positive attitude about their trajectory, which can make them calmer, more responsible, and happier with their investment.
Emotional dentistry explores the relationship between providers and patients to encourage more empathetic communication. Reciprocation is key – staff are trained to recognize that patients are on an emotional journey, as well as a physical one. The psychological barriers that many patients have can be addressed by emphasizing honesty over judgment.
Why is Emotional Dentistry Important?
The above methods are only examples of how orthodontists and dentists can employ the budding practices implied by trends in emotional dentistry. How patients self-perceive throughout their treatment is often viewed as a liability due to its tendency to cause a lack of confidence, compliance, and comfort. However, emotional dentistry suggests that patient perception can be an asset instead.
Open communication combined with techniques that emphasize treatment outlook can help patients feel safer as they receive life-changing orthodontic or dental treatment. By doing so, patients begin to speak honestly with their providers, telling them how often they wear an appliance or how well they are managing their treatment diet rather than default to their perception of their provider’s expectation.
This honesty allows providers to make more informed decisions about their patients’ treatments. As much as emotional dentistry aims at the tried-and-true practices of conventional dentistry at new standards for patient comfort, it can be just as beneficial to providers who hope to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their own work.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.