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A New Smile Might Be Your Secret to Professional Success

An update you may want to consider is the first thing an employer sees – your smile.

There isn’t much that COVID-19 hasn’t impacted–employment being high on the list. If you are among the many professionals looking for a new job or making a career change—possibly for the first time in decades—it can be difficult to know where to start. Sure, there’s updating your resume’ and LinkedIn profile, networking, and maybe even buying a new suit. Another update you may want to consider is your smile. According to Dr. Mark Sowell, a cosmetic dentist in Plano, more than 80 percent of people say the first thing they notice about someone else is their teeth, which means your smile may be the starting point you’ve been looking for.

Time can have a cruel effect on the appearance of your teeth. Inevitable changes related to aging can cause them to naturally become yellow and darker, as does daily exposure to food and drink. And if that’s not enough, cracks and chipping caused by clenching and grinding as well as loss of tooth structure from fillings can cause teeth to become weakened and shortened. While you can’t turn back the clock on aging, you can delay its telltale signs with cosmetic dentistry procedures. Most smile makeovers involve a change to the front six or eight teeth, Dr. Sowell says. Whether the change is made with veneers, whitening, or a combination of cosmetic procedures, an improvement to your smile can take 10 to 15 years off your appearance, as a brighter, whiter smile is associated with youth and health. “When people meet you for the first time, it’s only natural that they look at your smile first and will often base their first impression on that,” Dr. Sowell says. “Sometimes, people connect how well you take care of yourself with the condition of your teeth. A person’s appearance can be judged before he or she ever says a word.”

An example: You may normally be a friendly, smiling, and engaging person around your friends, family, and longtime co-workers. However, if you are self-conscious of your smile, you may not smile or talk as much around strangers or when meeting people for the first time, leading others to believe you are shy or not as friendly. “It’s easy to misinterpret someone’s personality this way,” Dr. Sowell says. “This has especially come into play with online job interviews since many cannot be done in person just yet. When there aren’t many other body cues, such as during a Zoom interview or meeting, the other person will be focused on your face. If you aren’t smiling or laughing at the appropriate cues, you may come off as cold or disinterested.”

When new patients visit Dr. Sowell for an initial smile makeover consultation, they spend a lot of time discussing their goals for their smile before he takes a series of pictures. It usually takes him a while to get patients to fully smile for the photos simply because they aren’t used to it after years of changing the way they hold their lips to hide their teeth. “A job interview is hard enough in person, and in today’s world where many are being done virtually, it’s getting even harder,” Dr. Sowell says. “If you have worked somewhere for a long time, this is completely new territory to start over in a new job and meet new people. It’s easy to give off the wrong nonverbal cues. I have treated several patients who start to cry when they see their new smile because, finally, their smile matches how they feel, and they have the self-confidence they need to be themselves. No one wants to start a job at a new company and have to worry about being judged by the condition of their mouth.”

Dr. Sowell says many of his patients have used their time at home during the pandemic to begin the first steps to improve their smile, whether they are searching for a new job or just want a boost to their overall appearance to be ready when it’s time to go back to the office or return to business travel. “I think this is a time where people are becoming more aware of staying competitive in the workplace,” Dr. Sowell says. “Soon enough, everyone will be interfacing more with other people, and it will become increasingly difficult to hide your smile.”

For most patients, from consultation to the final appointment, smile makeovers can be completed in about two to three months, or approximately six dental appointments. Dr. Sowell takes a thorough approach to each smile design. Every appointment begins with a comprehensive examination of the health, structure, function, and esthetics of the mouth. The dental health exam includes testing for teeth decay, abscesses, gum disease, and oral lesions. Structural concerns include broken, fractured, and cracked teeth, and the function of the smile includes evaluating missing teeth, the bite, TMJ, and muscles. The esthetics of the smile is how the teeth and gums look. Digital photos and impressions are taken to assess any dental issues, and Dr. Sowell spends ample time with patients to learn about their individual goals and desires for the smile, from color and size to arrangement and symmetry. From there, he goes over all the options to meet those goals. In addition to general dentistry, Dr. Sowell is a sought-after, leading expert in cosmetic bonding, dentures, porcelain veneers, no-prep Lumineers, teeth whitening, full-mouth reconstruction, gum reshaping, and orthodontic options such as Invisalign® and ClearCorrect™.

The latest computer imaging tools allow Dr. Sowell to mock up a smile so you know exactly what the final product will look like, and with an on-site ceramist and laboratory, getting the smile of your dreams is easier—and faster—than you may think.  “A smile makeover can restore what you once had in your smile or provide what you’ve never had in your smile but always wanted,” Dr. Sowell says.

For nearly three decades, Dr. Mark Sowell has served the community by providing state-of-the-art dental care. He is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, restorative dentistry, and teaches reconstructive dentistry at Spear Education. Because of his relentless commitment to excellence in all aspects of dental care, Dr. Sowell is often asked to lecture to other dentists and attends over 200 hours of rigorous postdoctoral training each year. Dr. Sowell is a member of an elite group of dentists who have achieved both Master status with the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and Accredited Membership with the prestigious American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Fewer than 40 dentists nationwide have earned both professional distinctions. While these recognitions illustrate Dr. Sowell’s dedication to providing the best that dentistry has to offer, he has achieved numerous other merits in the field of dentistry. To learn more about the extreme safety and sanitation measures Dr. Sowell has implemented into his state-of-the-art dental practice, visit smilesbysowell.com.

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