The desire for a picture-perfect smile is nothing new, as pearly white and straight teeth have been a status symbol for hundreds of years, dating back as far as Ancient Egyptian times. The standard for attaining this symbol of good genetics has usually required expensive orthodontic and dentistry work, from braces to retainers to spacers. Many teenagers know the experience of having their braces tightened every six weeks, excited for the day they’ll have their movie-star smile.
While many are still opting for the orthodontic route, Canadian dentists have noticed a steep incline in veneers and crown installments in people under 25. This increase in popularity has been an odd, and somewhat concerning fact for dentists throughout the country, who know that these cosmetic procedures are not without risks. The process of installing veneers requires a small portion of the tooth to be filed down, working away at the enamel. “Anytime you’re filing into younger people’s teeth, the nerves are bigger and there’s more of a chance that you can damage them,” Dr. Goth Siu, a prosthodontist tells ELLE Canada. “If you file too close to a nerve, they can wind up needing root canals in the future.”
In addition to potential nerve damage, veneers are not a one-time commitment, but rather a full set that needs to be reinstalled every 15 years. Dr. Siu points out the potential dangers of starting veneers too young, as each install requires more and more of the tooth to be filed down, which can ultimately result in decay.
While the rise in veneers was a surprise to the dentistry community, it’s less shocking to those who peruse TikTok or Instagram on a regular basis. It seems everyone has a pearly white smile, whether through the use of filters or dental work, and this beauty standard is pushing young people to make drastic moves. The hashtag #veneerscheck on TikTok is a rabbit hole of white-teeth teens showing off their hefty investment in the quest for social media fame.