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Dear Dr. Reichwage,

I'm a nail technician and I'm amazed that so many of my clients drive nice cars, pay attention to their appearance, take care of their nails, hair, and do whatever they can to look good or younger (many have had face lifts) but they're oblivious to the appearance of their teeth!

My own teeth were awful and bothered me a lot until I had cosmetic work done. Now they're beautiful and I feel like a different person. I guess that's why I'm so aware when people don't notice the appearance of their mouth.

Name withheld by request.


Dear Anonymous,

As soon as we open our mouths, our teeth reveal our age. Yet dentists face this conundrum every day.

Some people: willingly pay $25-50,000 or more to have the advantages of a new car, which depreciates and lasts only a few years, gladly invest in face lifts, and, over the years, spend thousands of dollars on hair and nail appointments, but, refuse to make any significant investment in the long-term, "youthenizing", instant-face-lift benefits of whitening and cosmetically enhancing their smiles, or, refuse to invest in their dental health, unless insurance will cover it!

So many of us will spend $8,000 for a face-lift, that will have to be redone in a few years, but would refuse to consider the very-long-term $8,000 investment to restore our smile.

BUT THE UGLY OR AGING SMILE ALWAYS REVEALS OUR AGE, undermining the benefit of the face lift, as well as any superficial benefit of nice nails or well-done hair or nice clothes.

My theory is that people subconsciously perceive their gums and teeth as only partially visible, as internal organs and therefore not part of their appearance.

Dentists find that the public perception of what dentistry can do hasn't kept pace with the explosive rate of advances in, and abilities of, modern dentistry.

The public tends to think of dentistry only as going every six months for a "cleaning" and repairing the occasional broken or decayed tooth (and many people perceive these repairs as necessary only when pain or discomfort are present).

But dentistry today is far more: it's about improved systemic health and lives changed through much-improved appearance.

I daily see people who have missing, broken or worn teeth, teeth darkened and stained by years of coffee, tea and cigarette use; receding gums that leave disproportionately long-looking, darkened teeth and odorous breath; and misshapen, misaligned teeth.

While these conditions have been apparent and worsening for years, people assume them to be irreversible, unavoidable and irreparable.


Healthy, beautiful smiles radiate confidence and vitality, and restore and "youthenize" our appearance. The rewards are immediate, long-term, and confidence/life-altering.

The Waynedale News Staff
Author: The Waynedale News Staff
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