One in Three Millennials are Reluctant to Smile
It is a little surprising how many people avoid a talk with a dental professional, or having a simple chat with a dentist when it comes to cosmetic dental questions. Or maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising. To many, speaking to a dentist about dental veneers, crowns, or teeth whitening is as easy as those with minor, less obvious cosmetic dentistry needs and who aren’t embarrassed by their smile. But for those who’ve suffered from cosmetic dental embarrassment for their entire lives, speaking to a dentist is the last thing they want to do as that that means they’d have to actually show someone, and talk to someone about, their embarrassment.
Most people do not associate mental health with dental health. Yet all one has to do to understand this is to imagine having to go through life with a missing tooth (like a central incisor). Really, try to imagine how this would affect your daily interactions with people. Certainly, many of us would talk to a dentist as soon as possible about options like a dental implant or a dental bridge. But try to imagine not having a lifelong relationship with a dental provider. What would life be like with a missing tooth?
Missing teeth, gaps, broken teeth, stained teeth, crooked teeth are all examples of “broken smiles” that can damage a person’s self-confidence. Even the simple act of going to the grocery store just might prompt a person to behave differently with a broken tooth if they have to ask for help in finding something. What if it were you? Would you strategically cover your mouth by rubbing your hand over your face? Maybe you’d abandon asking for help altogether. The everyday interactions we take for granted that require self-confidence based on simple appearance issues like a healthy smile become a daily struggle for those with cosmetic dental problems.
People with broken smiles are hyperaware of their appearance. They constantly think about how their smile looks when joking with co-workers. They always worry how they’re being perceived by someone who can’t stop staring at the gap in their smile.
As a dental provider, or a family member or friend of a person with a broken smile, you must be aware of the often debilitating effects of what is usually a simple cosmetic dental fix. But that fix may not feel so simple to them.
According to the ADA, (American Dental Association), most people with cosmetic dental needs are unaware that a fix can be relatively easy, and affordable. Further, most health plans don’t include dental insurance resulting in those in need avoiding a provider.
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It’s not conjecture. A 2017 Forbes article indicated that amongst Millennials, “28% say the appearance of their teeth and mouth undermines their ability to interview for a job.”
That article also noted some other eye-opening ADA findings about Millennials’ dental health as “Decaying teeth and gum problems make one in three young adults aged 18 to 34 (33%) reluctant to smile.” Sadly, the ADA found that one in five have cut back on face-to-face social interaction. Worse, some 35% of millennials have trouble chewing their food.
Millennials seem to suffer from lack of dental education more-so than other generations. According to the Forbes article, many Millennials are “unclear where to get dental insurance and how it works.”
Dentists Must Be Teachers
An ADA survey found that the dental profession may be failing in educating Millennials as to “how it works” citing that information coming from dental providers about procedures like cosmetic dentistry, dental veneers, crowns, inlays, or even how to get whiter teeth naturally is confusing and complicated. This confusion is worse in dental insurance information as in one quoted response in the survey from a Millennial stated, “When you look at [dental] plan brochures, it was very unclear what they were actually talking about… because they were using all sorts of dental terms that I did not understand.”
Even simple concepts about dental health have been lost on this generation. A FoxNews.com article explained that “Research commissioned by Hello Products, an oral care start-up, found that only 30 percent [of Millennials] brush their teeth just once a day.”
These facts reveal why many people with simple cosmetic dental needs continue to agonize over daily tasks requiring human interaction.
DentalChat.com provides the information in this article independent of our goal to sign up more dental providers for our service, which in part, helps dentists connect with potential patients, and helps them educate those in need. Of course, how a dental provider seeks to reach their target audience to educate their prospective patient base is certainly up to them (you). The point is that dental education is vitally needed for everyone, but especially the Millennial generation.
But we’re not embarrassed to say, our service directly speaks to this very issue. DentalChat.com provides local dental providers the opportunity to engage in conversation with potential patients in their area. As the Millennial Generation is far more comfortable socially interacting through texts, messaging, and chat systems,
DentalChat.com opens a new dental marketing avenue of opportunity for dentists.
Regardless of how, the dental profession has to reach out, en masse, to those whose dental IQ is lacking. Dentists must reach out to those with broken smiles, cosmetic concerns, fear of cost, fear of pain, and fear of embarrassment over something that is essentially, an easy fix, and in many instances, a great mental health boost. With 28% of Millennials saying that the “appearance of their teeth and mouth undermines their ability to interview for a job,” a concerted outreach geared toward this very fact not only alleviates a lot of anguish, it also provides dentists with a virtually untapped revenue stream. Whether you utilize DentalChat.com to tap that market, or you seek other ways to educate and market to that generation, the need amongst them is glaring, and ripe for opportunity.
Mother Teresa once said, “peace begins with a smile”. Of course, she was talking about the metaphor of a smile being a willingness to talk about a peaceful world. But for someone with poor smile quality, inner peace begins with a smile too.