Question: A few months after the end of a multiyear relationship I decided to start dating again, but I’m afraid of putting up an online profile. My teeth are very crooked. Otherwise I’m fit, and my face isn’t terrible, but I don’t know what to do about my teeth. I smile with my mouth closed in pictures. Should I indicate in my profile that my teeth are crooked, so as not to disappoint any prospective dates?
A couple of weeks ago I was looking at profiles on OKC for a profile review session. A woman had sent me the names of three men that she was communicating with on the site. One of the guys had a photo of himself smiling, showing off the fact that he was missing one of his front teeth. Underneath he wrote a disclaimer saying that he’s getting the tooth fixed, but that he felt full transparency was important. Hence the photo. I admired his moxie.
I was born about a month and a half premature and was sickly throughout my childhood. I was put on various medications consistently for years. The upside was that that’s probably part of the reason I have the immune system that I do. The downside was that I developed what they call tetracycline teeth. Some of my baby teeth grew in as black studs. My adult teeth were/are abnormally soft. Braces destroyed many of my front teeth and an accident in third grade didn’t help. I was tormented throughout my early teen years because of how discolored/chipped my teeth were. I was diagnosed with acid reflux when I was about 25. I wear a guard over my teeth many nights to protect them from the acid. I also wear a flipper on my bottom row because two of my teeth are crooked. My father, God bless him, spared no expense for me. I have a mouth full of bonding, crowns, implants and had about a dozen root canals. I’ve been having dental procedures and oral surgery since I was about 8 years old. So I feel your pain.
I’m going to say to you what I said to the woman who had lost a great deal of weight and was considering having a surgery that would tighten the excess skin she had from the weight loss. Get your teeth fixed. Spend the money and get your teeth fixed. If you have dental insurance look into what it covers and what it doesn’t. You have options. You can get braces or you can get a flipper (or Snap on Smile) to be fitted for your mouth. I love my Snap on Smile.* SOSs are affordable and don’t require invasive surgery.
Crooked or imperfect teeth are one of those things that people see and usually can’t get past. I can remember playing softball with a guy once who had horribly crooked teeth. They were so bad that I actually thought he was wearing a set of fake teeth just to see if anybody said anything. All I could think while he was talking is how he could allow his teeth to stay that way. Bad teeth make a statement about someone. That is an imperfection, a visible one, and many people have a hard time getting past such things.
I’ve done a few profile review sessions for people who have various types of speech impediments. Many of them express a total confusion over why they get so many first dates but few ever go further. I ask them if they get on the phone with their dates. They say no. Their profiles don’t mention the issue, either. That would be why they rarely get any second dates. They’re not necessarily being blown off because of the impediment. They’re likely getting blown off because they didn’t reveal it upfront. I delicately point this out to them if I feel they can handle that kind of feedback. I hate that I might be making them self-conscious, but the truth is that our external/physical presentation matters quite a bit. Especially in the online dating world. That extra weight, the problem skin, the ragged nails, the dry hair, the sallow complexion. These are all things that we notice without even really focusing on them. What we sense when we are presented with such things is that this person is not healthy in some way. That’s where our brains go. It’s instinctual.
My suggestion to you, if you don’t get your teeth fixed, is to post a photo that shows you with a wide smile. Like the guy I mentioned in the beginning of this post, transparency is important. Nobody wants to show up to a date thinking the person they are meeting looks a certain way only to learn that they don’t. Not only that, but you do not want to walk into a potentially psychologically brutal situation. Some people, unfortunately, just don’t know how to handle themselves and might actually express their frustration over feeling mislead.
*I was given a complimentary Snap on Smile appliance in 2009. I was not compensated for mentioning it in this post. I just truly, genuinely like this product and recommend it.