What’s a Good Smile Worth?

By |2019-05-09T18:18:54+00:00May 9th, 2019|Braces, Brushing, Charlotte Dentist|0 Comments

You landed an interview with a company that could give you your dream job, well done! So, you’ve got your resumé polished up and ready, and you just got back from Nordstrom Rack with a new outfit to wear for the interview—you want to have a power suit, right, to ensure they know you are a commanding presence? You’ve thought about your shoes, how you will prep to best present yourself at the interview. You have even thought through what fragrance you’d wear, and have pondered what sort of questions you might be asked—and how you’d reply.

But have you thought about your teeth? Now, that might sound odd at first, but there are some surprising statistics out there, and some intriguing studies that have been done, which may lead you to think about the impact your teeth and smile will have on the interviewer. Because, when it comes right down to it, interviews are not all about asking questions, they are also about finding any way of getting a good sense of who candidates are.

Interviews are about narrowing the choices from which a company can select. So, you’re in the final round or two, and its you in competition with just two to three other well-qualified candidates. What will make the difference when, all other things being equal with regard to qualifications, it’s just you against the few? Personality and appearance, presence and presentation—those are the decisive factors! At South Charlotte Dental, we may not be able to coach out your best personality, but we can help to bring out your best smile and give you reason to show off your pearly whites with confidence.

First, let look at the studies done, and then have a look at some strategies you can pursue with South Charlotte Dentistry to make the most of what your smile can do for you—to the tune of $10,000 dollars! Yep, you read that right. Some studies have shown that a brilliant, confident smile subtly convinces an employer to risk providing you a higher salary package in the offer they make to you. Why? Well, a brilliant, bright smile tells the employer a lot about you: you are bold, confident, self-aware, and friendly. These are qualities we prize in the American private and public sectors. So, no matter what sort of job you’re aiming for, your smile can convey your personality—and it’s the conclusions drawn by the prospective employer that can add up to some real money.


You are in the interview and things are going well. You are in negotiations about the salary and benefits package. You watch your tone (keeping a cool, calm, and warm tone of voice), then you strategically use silence, where needed, to convey that you’re waiting on them to come to terms agreeable to you. What do you do next? Smile. As simple as it sounds, smiling during an interview will convey to the interviewer that you are relaxed, confident, in control, and warm and friendly. That’s not just a selling point in the interview, but it’s a selling point with clients. Because, yes, your future employer is thinking about how you will be in front of their clients. So smile. It tells a lot more about you than you would think.


So when you smile, you know what the interviewer will see? Your teeth! What shape are your teeth in? That’s a far more important question, which really does influence job prospects and how hireable you are. A 2017 study conducted by the American Dental Association found some surprising concerns arising among Millennials. 33% were reluctant to smile at all, 20% reduced their social interactions due to concerns over dental problems, and about 28% expressed fears about the appearance of their teeth and mouth, which undermined their confidence to even take a job interview in the first place.

Some other finds from that 2017 study? 30% have some form of untreated tooth decay, while 35% have issues with biting or chewing. And near 40% expressed a sense that life was “less satisfying” due to dental issues. Lacking confidence in a smile is a bigger deal than most realize.

Think about it: you’re on a date and one of the things that you do look at is your date’s teeth, mouth, and smile. If you see bad teeth or if the person doesn’t smile at all, you will draw conclusions about whether you even want to continue to see them—forget about a kiss! So, if we naturally make judgements and assessments of others when on a date, how much more does an interviewer think about these things? Poor dental health can be likened to poor fashion sense or clothing attire—we may not mean to convey some of the messages that we do, but that doesn’t mean others aren’t taking meaning from how we smile or what the health of our teeth and mouth seems to be.

Better Smile, Better Pay

A brighter, straighter smile really does add to cold, hard cash. Have a more attractive smile than the average John or Jane Doe? You really do have a higher likelihood of better pay! A study done by Kelton Research asked participants to compare images of varying states of oral health, unaware that their attitudes to straight versus crooked teeth were the real object of study. Conclusion? The straighter the teeth, the more we think that person has better qualities, which we want. We associate happiness, the ability to care for others, and professional success as some of the traits a person with straight teeth possess. Right or wrong, we just can’t help from making judgments about people based on their appearance. Sometimes appearance is all we have.

Brighter Smile, More Confidence

Research has demonstrated that tooth alignment and better enamel color (think white teeth!) have found some correlations: have stained, crowded or crooked teeth with an unpleasant smile? Those persons tended to be more reticent, shy, more self-conscious and less confident. Have straighter, whiter teeth? The opposite is true: more confidence, bold, and less self-conscious.

Bigger Smiles, More Trust

Ultimately, we get hired by a company based on the presumption that our education and capabilities, our interpersonal skills and skill sets, as well as, our personality are all trustworthy. We get hired on trust and fired for breaking trust. Smiling goes a long way to securing the trust of others. A big, genuine smile from another person invites us to think of them as more genuine, kind, warm, and trustworthy. And when you’re discussing an initial job offer or a salary increase or promotion, a smile can be your winning hand in the card game of negotiations.

Want statistics? The Kelton Study found that a whopping 73% of people were more likely to trust someone who had a nice smile than if they had a good job, outfit, or car. Read that again! That was three-quarters of the respondents who believe a smile adds up to solid trustworthiness.

First Impressions, Lasting Impressions

The Kelton Study revealed that 29% of its respondents first take notice of one another’s teeth when first meeting them. And what they remember after meeting someone? Nearly one-quarter said they most remember the condition of a person’s teeth! What about perceptions we conclude about straight versus crooked teeth, and the ability to land a job? Well, 45% of respondents believed that those with straight teeth would be more likely to get the job, over those with crooked teeth. And 58% believed that those with straight teeth were more likely to be both more successful and wealthier, over the long run, than those with crooked teeth. Our teeth make a more dominant impression on others than we’ve probably assumed.

Straight Teeth Equates to Good Personality

Another interesting find from the Kelton Study includes the positive associations people make with straight teeth. Have straight teeth? Then 21% of respondents believe you will be more happy; 47% think you will be perceived as health; and about 38% assume you are more intelligent. Do straight teeth add up to better perceptions? Yes, they really do.

Our Recommendations for a Brilliant Smile:

  1. Brush your teeth and don’t forget the floss! What could be worse, after primping and preening yourself, but to walk out of the house without having flossed and brushed. That single sesame seed stuck between your front teeth could be the very thing that kills your interview. Do not forget to brush and floss—that’s the easiest and most logical start.
  2. Use mouthwash. Swish and spit, both after brushing and also, just before the interview. Arrive early to your interview (always a smart move) and slip off to the bathroom to freshen your breath with another quick wash. Why not? You could have had some coffee on the way in and, frankly, coffee breath can get a bit rank. You want your interviewer or, if negotiating a salary increase at your current job, your boss to only smell minty, fresh breath. Make it easier, not harder, for people to give you want you want. Good, clean breath helps with that.
  3. Teeth Whitening. South Charlotte Dental offers teeth whitening services, which can remove staining and make your tooth enamel coloring more uniform. You don’t want yellowed teeth or brown stains to be the decisive factor that loses you the prospective job or the pay rise. We can use whitening trays or other methods of whitening that can brighten up your teeth and give them a cleaner, fresher look.
  4. Straighten your teeth. Traditional metal braces are of course an option, but Dr. Welles and the team at South Charlotte Dentistry recommend Invisalign as our first go-to for teeth straightening. These clear plastic aligner trays are nearly invisible, are custom-fitted to your mouth and teeth, and work over time to gradually and gently shift your teeth into their proper place. We develop a plan that gets you to the straighter teeth you want and need. The advantage of Invisalign is that the aligner trays can fix a host of problems—from gapped teeth and overbites, to underbites and open bites, to overly crowded mouths or crossbites—and most people will not even know you are wearing them! They are also easy to clean and they won’t get in the way of eating (you take the tray out, unlike braces), and they won’t impede your ability to play sports (braces can pose some risks for sports participation). Best of all, the aligners get swapped out every two weeks, slowly moving your teeth into place—but without the pain and discomfort that can occur when metal braces are used. You wear the trays all day and night and, over the course of your treatment, and you achieve the straighter teeth that can get you that extra $10,000 bump in salary—because a straight, bright smile really does pay.
  1. Other treatments available. We can also offer such things as crowns, porcelain veneers, dental bonding, or teeth reshaping. A consultation can determine the best kinds of treatments for your particular dental health needs.
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