Professor Colin Jones, author of The Smile Revolution, has a very interesting theory: Technology has totally changed the “culture of the smile.”
As reported on by The Telegraph, Jones pinpoints the “duck face,” in particular, saying it has replaced the “Cheshire cat” smile.
“The world of the selfie, the wonder of narcissism, the selfie-stick and the way that seems to make the smile absolutely everywhere. It is the way in which we establish our authenticity in the world.”
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But not everyone agrees the popularity of social media is necessarily a bad thing for the smile, and much like with plastic surgery—the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports that 42 percent of plastic surgeons say patients seek cosmetic treatments to look better in selfies, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Live and other social channels—it’s only doing good things for the dental industry.
“I think, for the most part, it [social media] is a good thing,” says San Francisco cosmetic dentist Niloufer Hamsayeh, DDS. “Motivating patients to have straighter, whiter teeth has increased the number of patients having Invisalign treatment, which helps improve their general oral health, as straighter teeth tend to accumulate less plaque and tartar around them.”
What’s more, Dr. Hamsayeh points out, it’s not all about vanity, as more trips to the dentist equates to better dental health overall. “Having whiter teeth motivates patients to come in for cleanings more regularly. In particular, I have seen an increased number of patients wanting whitening procedures done right after their cleanings. Both Invisalign and coming in for regular cleanings can improve the periodontal health and dental health for patients, so I see this as a good trend.”
Social media also serves as a good starting point for how patients can communicate their smile goals to their dentist. “People bring in examples of celebrities on social media to help identify the exact look they desire for their teeth,” Dr. Hamsayeh explains. “I find this to be the best guide as a cosmetic dentist. This allows me to visualize what they consider as ideal beauty. It also gives me a chance to see if their goals are realistic ones based on their dental anatomy.”
And if you still prefer the pout in a social media pic? “Even if people aren’t smiling as much in photos as they used to, we smile all the time on a daily basis. Your teeth are one of the first, if not THE first thing people look at when they see you for the first time,” says New York cosmetic dentist Zachary E. Linhart, DDS. “A big, bright, beautiful smile sets the tone for how you are greeted and treated by new and old acquaintances. In addition, when you speak, and as you age, your bottom teeth become more and more visible so don’t forget to take good care of all of your teeth!”