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Survey highlights impact of video calls on smile self-consciousness

By Brendan Day, Dental Tribune International
July 08, 2021

LONDON, UK: Though video calls have become a part of everyday work for many professionals during the pandemic, their increased integration has had some unintended consequences. A new survey jointly conducted by the Oral Health Foundation (OHF) and Align Technology has found that more than half (58%) of British adults have changed how they see their own smile as a result of these videoconferencing technologies.

The survey of 2,009 people reported that 33% were more aware of the colour of their own teeth, whereas 24% were more aware of the alignment of their teeth. Overall, 11% of respondents said that they felt self-conscious about seeing their own smile during an online video meeting.

“Physical interactions have been limited over the last 12 months, and for many, have been replaced with gatherings online,” noted Dr Nigel Carter, OBE, chief executive of the OHF, in a press release.

“This technology has been an invaluable tool, whether it be facilitating business meetings or allowing grandparents to see their newborn grandchildren for the first time. It has also led to us seeing our own face, and smile, far more than we are used to,” he added.

“The colour and shape of our teeth are the first things we tend to notice and feeling self-conscious is quite normal. What we must remember, however, is that the most important part of the smile is its health,” Carter concluded.

The survey also reinforced the notion that mandatory mask wearing, although effective in reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, has had a deleterious effect on the ability of individuals to form new relationships and friendships, with 58% of respondents stating this was the case for them.

Demand for orthodontics booms during pandemic

A survey conducted by the British Orthodontic Society earlier this year found that 84% of orthodontists had experienced an increase in adult patients during the pandemic. This somewhat surprising figure was, at least partially, a result of the “Zoom effect”, and 55% reported that rising patient expectations and social factors had helped to fuel the increased demand.

The increase in the popularity of orthodontics is backed up by Align Technology’s own sales figures for 2020, a year in which the company sold a record 1.6 million cases of clear aligners and earned US$2.1 billion (£1.5 billion) in revenue.

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