Obtaining the perfect smile with the help of porcelain veneers has exploded in popularity in the past 10 years, with procedures that were once the go-to for the rich and famous now being sought out by the people around us every day.
More and more, dentists are seeing patients come in who are hoping to achieve a brand new smile that will look faultless in photos and selfies – bright white, even and perfectly straight – ‘Instagram teeth’.
It’s important to emphasise that we’re not talking about necessary or vital dental treatment here. Dentists have been using these procedures and providing veneers to patients in need for decades, but the ‘Instagram teeth’ trend see people with perfectly nice, normal smiles already opting for a picture-perfect, completely flawless set of teeth that in the past you would expect to see on Hollywood’s A-listers.
Dr. Michael Apa, who counts Victoria’s Secret models, actresses and reality TV stars as clients, has seen a huge increase in people requesting cosmetic dental work, and says that social media is the driving force.
“Every cosmetic procedure has just gone crazy in popularity since Instagram became a thing,” Dr. Apa told The Atlantic. “It’s almost hard to find an [Instagram] influencer without veneers now.”
Obviously there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, and everyone should do what makes them happy at the end of the day, but the concerning side to this latest Instagram-inspired trend is that it is yet another example of the influence that the platform has over its users and the way they perceive themselves.
“The desire to be perfect burdens many people and ironically dooms them to unhappiness,” psychologist and author Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. explains on Psychology Today. “It becomes a statement that I’m not good enough just as I am. When we do that, we judge ourselves.”
Aside from the negative effects that striving for perfection and looking to change elements of our appearance can have on mental health, it’s also financially costly too.
In Australia, porcelain veneers can range from $1200 to $2500 – and that’s per tooth. So you can only imagine the cost if someone were to want to ‘fix’ their whole smile.
While this cost may be a worthy investment for a Hollywood celebrity, or not a problem for certain social media influences who may be given their procedure for free in return for promotional posts about it, the cost of veneers to achieve ‘Instagram teeth’ is a significant investment for a person with a regular job.
Time to listen to some Bruno Mars perhaps and try to remember, “You’re amazing, just the way you are.”