Smilorexia

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'Smilorexia' is a term* used to describe an obsessive desire for a perfect smile. It was coined by Michael Zuk DDS and first used in his book titled Confessions of a Former Cosmetic Dentist.

The book describes the condition as one that can affect both dental professionals and patients. In the case of dentists, the problem can lead to over-treatment due to the desire of the dentist to "fix" any shortcomings from the perceived idea smile. The fact is there is no definition of a perfect smile and therefore in the opinion of the author some degree of natural variation from the ideal should be accepted instead.

When patients are affected by 'Smilorexia' they want their teeth to be whiter and straighter. They want to have teeth like a particular celebrity and will go to great expense to attempt to achieve these goals. The common problem is patients with this condition, according to the author, are often extremely difficult to satisfy and become nightmares for the dental professional who attempts to hep them.

It is proposed that 'Smilorexia' is in fact a form of OCD with a specific focus on the characteristics of the teeth. Patients may be identified by subtle clues including the extend to which they describe their dental shortcomings, the detail in which they specify what would make them happy and often by the closeness they hold the hand mirror when pointing out the perceived problems. The author also notices other visual clues which he details in his book or on the book website. The book also discusses the problems with chasing the ideals of a perfect smile and is a critical analysis of the cosmetic dental business.

"Dentists are advised to treat these patients with additional care and use the most conservative treatment options available. The dentist should error on the side of caution when treating people who are obviously obsessed beyond reason with their looks. Dentists who have the condition likely will not seek treatment because the profession as a whole is affected to some degree or another. A good dentist needs to be picky, but sometimes this can lead to treatment of a problem that really only exists in the mind of the one with the mental disorder," according to Dr. Zuk.






*Smilorexia' was first used in the book Confessions of a Former Cosmetic Dentist and the discussion related to how dental professionals react to the book can be found on this link.


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