I feel that the camera brings out my inner critic every time. Having your photograph taken can be a fun experience, especially if you feel confident in the appearance of your smile. However, if you feel self-conscious about how your teeth will look through the exacting lens of the camera, the entire experience may prove stressful and unpleasant. Believe it or not, the way we perceive ourselves just before the click of the shutter makes a huge difference in the end result.
It’s a secret that all great photographers know: it’s incredibly difficult to look good in a photo if you don’t feel great about yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Sure, there are digital tools and special lighting techniques that can mask flaws or enhance the image quality, but no amount of Photoshop trickery can produce a radiant glow or a sincere expression. That inner spark and that visible confidence have to come from you.
Some people avoid the camera like the plague, while others love it so much that one wonders if there might be a touch of narcissism at hand. Regardless, one fact will never change: a photograph is a timeless representation of a single moment, captured in an instant. Making the camera your friend is sometimes just a simple matter of acceptance, settling into the knowledge that your healthy, happy smile truly is a treasure for all to see. When you love your smile, it shows. Give the world a real glimpse into who you are, and share your smile openly. Worth far more than a thousand words, your portrait will surely speak for itself.
When I think of February, the first thing that comes to mind is, yea! It’s time to celebrate the love we have in our lives! It’s the month for hearts, flowers, togetherness, and smiles. Lots of smiles. In fact, did you know that a smile is the single most attractive feature to both men and women, and that its power can be expressed anywhere and at anytime? What better way to get a little magic stirring? I find that we rarely consider how powerful and magical a smile can truly be, and I think February – the month of love – is the perfect time to give this captivating and charismatic characteristic the attention it deserves.
As a dentist, I’m blessed and fortunate enough to receive and return countless smiles every day. I get to witness firsthand what a difference a smile can make, instantly brightening the day of anyone in its path. From my patients and their families to my staff and even strangers on the street, a simple flash of a smile can completely transform your mood, then radiates out to those around you.
Case in point: One of my patients recently presented me with this plaque:
He said he thought of me when he saw it. This incredibly sweet sentiment, naturally, left a smile on my face, and I’m happy to share it now with everyone who comes in to the office. I love knowing that I get to help others smile every day; it truly is the greatest gift, and it just keeps on giving.
As we close for today, I’ll leave you with a little Month of Love trivia, just for fun: What do chocolates and a smile have in common?
Answer: They’ve both been scientifically proven to cause a significant increase in dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, all of which are feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. So share your smile today (and chocolate too, if you want), and make the world a more magical place!
A few months ago, I found myself trekking through the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico, enjoying the magnificent scenery and everything the living desert has to offer. Hardy brush, blooming wildflowers, unique cactus formations, and centuries-old rock formations greeted my eyes at every turn. I did, however, come across something completely unexpected during my hike: this astounding structure in the middle of nowhere.
As an avid admirer of balance and harmony in daily life, I was immediately struck by the beauty and composition of what I’d discovered. The stones, meticulously placed, exhibited such harmony within an undeniably intense environment like the desert. Even so, they just seemed to fitso well there, and the experience left me thinking about the concepts and techniques I apply while creating balanced, harmonious smiles.
Crafting Your Perfect Smile
Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just about straightening your teeth or making them whiter, though these aspects certainly do play an important role in achieving a balanced and beautiful smile. When greeting patients, I naturally take an all-encompassing approach to not only the health of their teeth and gums, but to their overall appearance as well.
I ask myself a number of critical questions, taking into account every facet of each smile as an individual component of a much more significant whole. Does her smile naturally enhance her facial contours, and are her teeth the right shade to complement her skin tone and eye color? Does the shape and size of his teeth improve or detract from his overall image? What can I offer to bring symmetry, strength, and harmony to my patients’ faces so that they can more fully enjoy their lives?
The truth is that there are so many integral factors to consider when you’re creating a beautifully balanced smile, and it’s one of my favorite things to do for my patients. It’s honestly one of the most rewarding experiences imaginable, and I’m newly grateful for the opportunity every day.
I can’t believe how this year has flown by! Christmas is right around the corner and, before we know it, the New Year will be upon us. As I spent some time decorating the office for Christmas this week, one decoration in particular made me stop and think for a moment about something I believe is especially important this time of the year.
This festive little sleigh, adorned with twinkling lights and gingham ribbon bows, has been one of my favorite holiday decorations for more than ten years. Every Christmas, I bring out the sleigh with its smiling snowmen and pine needle boughs, and I have to smile at all of the memories it carries. I love this cheery addition to the office and the unmistakable holiday spirit it contributes to the ambiance of this space.
Even as I marveled at how the sleigh has inevitably found its place here for so many years, I was able to recognize the fact that it is, admittedly, a little dated. Compared to the other, more modern décor around the office, this little basket of Christmas joy doesn’t shine quite as brightly as I initially thought. I love it all the same, of course, even with its little imperfections, but it really got me thinking. This revelation, I realized, can be aptly applied to what we do here every day when we help our patients improve their smiles and their health overall.
I suppose I can sum it up like this: It’s important to remember that you can love the old while still welcoming the new, particularly as the beginning of a brand new year approaches. As you make your New Year’s resolutions this January, I invite you to think of the way you perceive your smile. It isn’t necessarily something you regularly think of improving or changing because it’s a part of you that you’re so accustomed to seeing in a certain light. And while you may be content to accept it as it is, imperfections and all, maybe the New Year is the perfect time to take a second look at how it really makes you feel. If there’s ever been a time to give yourself the gift of a brighter, healthier, more confident smile, it’s definitely now!
While I don’t think I’ll ever part with this adorable little family of Christmas snowmen, I do think I’ll start a new tradition this year. My resolution is to look at the old in a new light whenever possible, to appreciate and love what the past offers while still keeping my eyes open to a tomorrow that’s newer and brighter. I hope you all do the same and enjoy the very happiest of New Years!
November has finally arrived, and with it comes the season of giving, togetherness, and genuine gratitude. In light of the Thanksgiving spirit, I’d love nothing more than to take this moment to pause and give thanks for each and every member of our dental family. From the precious smiles of your little children as they toddle in for their very first visit to the cherished patients I’ve been serving for years, all of you represent a special place in my heart. That connection is what I’m most thankful for this year and every other year I’m fortunate enough to serve as your dentist.
Every year, all across America, families gather round their dinner tables to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition together, laughing and loving and sharing an inextinguishable sense of community
with those who matter most. This is a tradition that is undiminished by the forces of time and distance; no matter how far from home we may stray over the course of our lives, we always manage to come back home, back to where the heart is.
I sincerely hope that each of my patients experiences that unmistakable feeling of unconditional warmth and hospitality every time they visit my office. This is your dental home, and you and your family are a part of ours. For this – and for your beautiful smiles – I am eternally grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!
November 1st is All Saints’ Day, and I can think of no better time of year to recognize one of my favorite saints: St. Apollonia. As the patron saint of dentistry, St. Apollonia serves as a welcome refuge for those suffering from dental pain, particularly toothaches. As a dentist, I often call upon St. Apollonia as a source of continuing inspiration and strength as I provide my patients with the dental care they need.
The account of St. Apollonia’s life was written by Dionysius (then the Bishop of Alexandria) and relayed to Fabian, the Bishop of Antioch. Dionysius recounted the story of Apollonia, an aged deaconess, whose refusal to renounce her faith resulted in her torture and eventual death at the hands of her persecutors. After having all of her teeth forcibly removed, Apollonia whispered a prayer and committed herself to the flames of her attackers.
In her final moments, Apollonia serenely and voluntarily brought an end to the torture inflicted by Emperor Philip’s mobs, even as they continued to demand that she forsake her God. Her martyrdom has since been seen as a testament to her heroic faith, and she is invoked and remembered fondly by millions, particularly those in the field of dentistry.
In my practice, I like to emphasize the importance of maintaining an environment that is balanced, harmonious, and imbued with positive energy. Recognizing and honoring St. Apollonia’s enduring spirit is just one way that I strive to do this every day.