There might be more truth than you think to the term "million-dollar smile." Research has found evidence of a possible connection between your appearance and how much is in your paycheck.
In a study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, researchers found that good-looking people tend to earn 5 percent more an hour than their less attractive cohorts.
Other studies suggest that a smile is a major factor in the overall impression a person makes on the job, during a job interview and in social situations outside the workplace.
Virtually all Americans say a smile is an important social asset, according to a study conducted for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, while 74 percent say an unattractive smile can hurt a person's chances for career success.
"A dentist from Philadelphia we trained had a patient who reported his income went up 27 percent the year after getting a smile makeover," said Dr. Bill Dickerson, founder of LVI Global, where dentists come from around the world to learn the latest aesthetic techniques.
A bright, genuine smile exudes confidence, strength and a willingness to open up to others. Conversely, if you are self-conscious about your smile, it might affect the way you carry yourself, the way you communicate with others and, ultimately, your job performance.
But the truth is, few people are born with perfect smiles. The fabulous smiles you see on TV and in magazines often are the results of cosmetic dentistry.
But you don't have to be rich and famous to have your own million-dollar smile. There are many options, from smile whitening to repairing, straightening or replacing teeth. Many procedures can be completed in two to three visits.
However, finding the best dentist to initiate the transformation is a major key to the process. It's important to choose a dentist who is trained specifically in the procedure you are seeking and keeps up with changes in the field, Dickerson said.
Nothing tells the story better or more dramatically than a before-and-after picture. A series of actual smile restorations performed by LVI Global-trained practitioners can be seen on the Internet at www.lvidocs.com.