What Is the Cost of an Unattractive Smile?

People considering cosmetic dentistry often look at the cost of the procedure, but don’t consider the cost of not getting the procedure. That’s because it’s very hard to gauge the cost of an unattractive smile, but we’re still going to try.

There are really two main areas where research has shown a more attractive smile will benefit you. The first is in romantic relationships, which we can’t really quantify (though we can point out that happily married couples do see significant health benefits). The second is in job success, and there we have enough information to make a crude, ballpark estimate about the cost of an unattractive smile.

How an Unattractive Smile Impacts the Job Search

467352559The first place that an unattractive smile impacts your job success is in the job search itself. A teeth whitening study showed that people were 58% more likely to be hired after whitening their teeth, and 54% more likely to be offered a higher salary. We’ll use the 58% higher success rate as a baseline for figuring out the impact of an unattractive smile on getting a new job, though if you add in crooked teeth, decayed teeth, and missing teeth, the impact is likely to be much greater.

If you assume that the average cost of a job search is about $300, then a person with a less attractive smile who has to spend more time looking for a job might incur about $96 in additional job hunt costs. And the cost gets magnified even more when you consider the lost wages that come from not getting hired.

The average salary for a new hire is about $45,000, or about $865 a week. Since a person with an unattractive smile might remain unemployed for 11 weeks longer than a person with an attractive smile, that works out to about $9500 in missed salary, based on an average period of unemployment of 33 weeks.

Impact on a Lifetime of Earnings

But the benefit doesn’t stop there. Economists have estimated that people with self-rated attractiveness experience a 5-10% beauty premium in terms of salary.

One study suggests that having a healthy smile alone might account for a 4% premium. If we consider that the average income in this country is about $60,000, that works out to a difference of $2400 a year. Over a lifetime of earnings (since the beauty premium is in effect throughout your career), that can add up to about $84,000 in lifetime earnings for a person with a bachelor’s degree, and even more for people with advanced or business degrees.

Comparing the cost of an unattractive smile to the cost of any cosmetic dentistry procedure–even a full makeover with porcelain veneers–shows that they are a bargain.

We’ve noted before that porcelain veneers can’t guarantee you’ll get a good job, but they sure seem to up the odds, and over a lifetime of earnings the impact can be significant.

If you would like to learn more about the costs and benefits of cosmetic dentistry, please call 303-759-5652 for an appointment with a Denver cosmetic dentist at Park Meadows Dental Care.