Does it seem like everyone around you has perfect teeth? Do you find yourself reaching for your sunglasses every time you open up your social media? You’re certainly not alone because today having a bright white and dazzling smile is rather the norm than something special. Once reserved for celebrities and those dwelling in the limelight, teeth whitening has permeated to all levels of society and become the number one dentistry treatment globally.
“I can remember the first time a patient came to me and said they needed to have their teeth whitened for social media. It was back in 2016, and this patient wanted to stand out in her Instagram photos and a brighter smile was her solution,” says Dr. Smith, a dentist at Martindale Dental in Ontario.
What was a growing trend has now exploded and teeth whitening has taken the dentistry community by storm. Gone are the days of perfecting already straight teeth being reserved for the fabulous and wealthy. Now everyone is doing it and it’s turned into a major niche for the beauty industry. It comes as no surprise because social media is putting a lot of pressure on people to look their best.
One of the top cosmetic treatments was and is still dental veneers, but these are often too expensive for everyone – with prices starting at $1000 per tooth and quickly rising to the $4000 per tooth mark depending on which cosmetic dentist is doing the work. Teeth whitening might not give the same total package, but it does quite a bit to elevate a patients smile. If cash is an issue then the best thing a person can do for their smile is a professional teeth whitening, and that’s just what is happening.
It seems that the emergence of the “selfie” and social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and to a lesser extent Facebook, have really fed the craze for the perfect smile. Yes, we’re talking about social media influencers, which are mostly attractive, young female users even though males fall into the same beauty trap. These influencers find themselves under great pressure to raise their game to the level of usually much more famous and wealthy celebrity counterparts. You’ve got to look great to get the likes and if you don’t then you’ll need to fake it until you make it.
As such, teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures have been recast as marketable consumer goods thanks to the “need” generated by social media platforms like Instagram. As with most networks, many users will copy a framework for success, and as an influencer, personal beauty (external beauty) is a huge part of that. It’s because of this need to be beautiful that aspects of the human body that can be easily “upgraded”, such as in this case the whiteness of one’s teeth, are being improved like never before. Your parents might tell you that perfect teeth don’t matter, but the rest of the online world seems to care a whole lot.
How is this is affecting the current generation of teens? Just as there is a huge push to do away with beauty standards, there is a much greater pressure to be superficially beautiful. As much as we’re told that it’s what’s inside that matters, this doesn’t seem to be the case when looking at the popularity of social influencers, the vast majority of which aspire to be super model beautiful. Sure, this trend has created a new type of employment and opened up possibilities for generating wealth on many levels. However, it might be also come at a cost, as narcissism rules and influences the minds of our impressionable youth the most. For better or worse, being beautiful is desired and who doesn’t want to be desirable too.
Without digging deeper into topics like the human psyche, consumerism in society, or discussing narcissism etc., let’s answer the original question of this article – do white teeth matter – to which we’d have to say yes, they matter more than ever. Luckily, unlike other beauty treatments, teeth whitening is very non-invasive, affordable and can be done quickly and easily. There are also natural teeth whitening treatments available for the organically inclined. Long story short, white teeth matter (superficially) and can be a great option for a quick, much needed boost of self confidence.