Social media has become an undeniable force in many of our lives. With people posting everything from their gourmet breakfast to their smiling “selfies,” social media has become an easy way to stay engaged in our friends’ lives from the comfort of our phones and tablets. But as fun as social media can often be, it also has a more serious side – the side where picture-perfect smiles are making some viewers seriously reevaluate their own appearance.
“People are noticing the beautiful white smiles of friends and celebrities on sites like Instagram and Snapchat, and they want that look for themselves,” says Dr. Alexandra George. George practices neuromuscular orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry in her Wexford, Pennsylvania, clinic. She has noticed an uptick in patients looking for cosmetic dentistry thanks to social media.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, George says. In fact, dentists like George applaud the desire to take control of one’s smile.
“Anything we can do to improve oral health and self-esteem is a win,” she says.
So, what procedures are people getting done?
“Veneers are very popular right now,” says George. “They’re somewhat of a quicker fix for patients who don’t require that much intervention.”
Veneers are thin porcelain caps that fit over the teeth and can change the size, shape and color of the teeth all at once. But, according to George, they also require a serious commitment.
“Veneers, like most other cosmetic dentistry, require some maintenance,” she says.
That maintenance includes updating veneers every 10 to 20 years.
“Like fillings, veneers aren’t permanent and have to be replaced,” George says.
Another fact about veneers? The tooth underneath has to be filed down a bit and the surface roughened so the veneers adhere.
“Once you get your first set of veneers, you are basically committed for life,” says George.
Thankfully, there are ways to extend the longevity of your veneers, such as not grinding your teeth and taking excellent care of your oral health.
“If you do grind your teeth, we recommend you get that under control before investing in veneers,” says George. “Whether that be by treatment with braces or just a bite guard, your investment will last longer if you’re not grinding your teeth.”
George says other benefits of veneers include that they not only create a healthy-looking beautiful smile, but they also don’t stain, so that white, bright look stays white and bright for the life of your veneers.