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2.06.09 Issue #361 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Independent Evidence Proves That A Beautiful Smile
Is A Great Investment

Cosmetic dentistry is often viewed as a luxury by patients because most dental insurance companies view cosmetic treatment as elective services. As a result, patients more readily accept services that are covered by the insurance because these services are viewed as “necessary.” I would venture to guess that each of us has a different view of what is necessary to live the best life. With today’s negative news on the economy, I realize that I should cut back on some expenses and put more dollars into a “safety net” savings account. I even took an inventory of my expenses to see what I could cut out to be able to save, but the one thing I will not give up is my regular 4-month visit to my dentist. Having a beautiful smile with straight, white, healthy teeth and bone gives me confidence that I am doing the best thing to prolong the quality and quantity of my life. I have instilled that same value in my children, who both have beautiful, healthy, smiles. Many years of involvement in the practice of dentistry just further helps me see the results of not having regular care and maintenance.

Consequently, I was delighted to see an article in the Cosmetic Tribune newspaper (December 2008 edition) that confirms what I have suspected to be true for decades. We all know that a beautiful smile will make you more attractive to others, but according to research studies conducted by Beall Research and Training of Chicago, a renewed smile clearly brings other benefits. This study was carried out by Dr. Anne Beall, a social psychologist and market research professional of behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Briefly, pictures of eight different people were shown to 528 Americans that represented a valid cross section of the population. According to the press release:

The participants were asked to judge the eight people as to how attractive, intelligent, happy, successful in their career, friendly, interesting, kind, wealthy, popular with the opposite sex and sensitive to other people they were. None of the people had rotten teeth, missing teeth or obviously serious dental problems. Two sets of photos were created showing four individuals before cosmetic procedures and four after cosmetic procedures. Half of the participants viewed set A and the other set B. Then they were evenly divided by gender. Two had mild improvements through cosmetic services, two had moderate improvements and four had major improvements to give a wide range to view. Respondents were not told that they were looking at dentistry but were asked to make snap judgments rating each person for the ten characteristics on a scale of one to ten with one being “not at all” and ten being “extremely.”

The study revealed surprisingly that a pretty smile does have a broad range of benefits. Most people consider improving your smile to have the benefit of being more attractive and popular with the opposite sex, but it was surprising that people thought a beautiful smile was an indication of being successful, intelligent and wealthy, too. The complete survey results are available at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry website.

Below is the table of the results taken from the Cosmetic Tribune newspaper article from last December.

Characteristic Average Before” Rating After” Rating Increase
Attractive 4.6 5.9 1.3
Intelligent 5.9 6.5 0.6
Happy 6.2 6.8 0.6
Successful in Their Career 5.8 6.7 0.9
Friendly 6.3 6.8 0.5
Interesting 5.4 6.1 0.7
Kind 6.0 6.4 0.4
Wealthy 4.9 5.9 1.0
Popular with the Opposite Sex 5.0 6.2 1.2
Sensitive to Other People 5.6 6.1 0.5

For all of you that present treatment plans to patients, whether you are Dentists, Dental Assistants, Business Coordinators or Treatment Coordinators, you can rejoice knowing that it is true, in measureable ways, that dentistry is a great investment. The most dramatic demonstration of this information would be to create your own before and after studies of patients. Not only would it be a great idea to take a good photo of the patient prior to treatment but also prudent ask them about their anticipated results of the treatment. After treatment, take a new photo and ask the patient how they now feel about themselves and compare. To learn more about presenting treatment to patients, ask us about our course, Treatment Acceptance Training, and raise your awareness of what patients really want.

For more information about McKenzie Management’s Advanced Training courses, email, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our website at

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