Instagram influencers have a close relationship with their followers, and the greater their success, the more close-up pictures and videos they will face. They are obliged to perform traditional beauty roles, and as such, the pressure to have perfect smiles and beautiful teeth is intense. This has driven huge demand for luxury dental veneers, some of which cost between $1,000 and $4,000 per tooth. Fans have caught onto the trend and demand for veneers has never been greater.
Dental veneers have always had a close relationship with celebrity. They were first developed in 1928 by Charles Pincus, as “Hollywood veneers” to help improve the smiles of actors. At that time, many actors had decayed, missing, or broken teeth, and he helped transform the smiles of such legends as James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Alice Faye, Robert Taylor, Fanny Brice, Mae West, Joan Crawford, Edith Head, Barbara Stanwyck, Walt Disney, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and even Shirley Temple. Hollywood veneers were temporary, and easily removable. Today’s veneers are largely permanent.
They consist of thin porcelain or composite resin coverings that are bonded to the front surface of teeth with dental cement. The teeth are sanded down before the dental veneers are bonded on, and have a lifespan of some 10 years.
For most people, dental veneers were used to fix functional problems with their teeth, but for the very rich, and those who needed to look good for their work, they were used for purely aesthetic reasons. Around the 1990s, traditional celebrities began to embrace dental veneers, but for the general public, they remained something that was only used to correct functional issues. Instagram changed all that.
Technological improvements democratized access to prosthodontist services, so that by the time Instagram was launched in 2012, the conditions already existed for widespread use of dental veneers for aesthetic purposes. With costs lower than at any point in history, and the quality and naturalness better than ever, the public was ready to embrace the aesthetic use of dental veneers.
Instagram matched creators with fans who loved their content and were attracted by their preternatural beauty. These mostly female creators played an almost mythic role within the platform and fans expected perfection from them. Instagram influencers have to have the same or even higher standards than more famous, and wealthier Hollywood celebrities. Like the early Hollywood actors who sought out Dr. Pincus to help them with their teeth, these influencers sought out aesthetic dentists to help them perfect their smiles.
Dentists such as Dr. Michael Apa have gained a legendary status. Apa has half a million Instagram followers, and famously documented Instagram influencer and cosmetics entrepreneur Huda Kattan’s procedure, which, thanks to porcelain veneers, gave her the perfect smile she had always desired.
Instagram has brought celebrities and influencers into a more intimate relationship with their fans than was ever possible. Fans feel as if they are part of the lives of influencers, and that they have a right to certain expectations. And with many influencers commercializing their appearance, they need to live up to these expectations.
Not only are influencers under immense pressure to live up to ideals, but their fans look to them for inspiration and guidance. Influencers are called influencers for a reason. Fans see what they do to their bodies and are inspired to follow suit.
As Instagram influencers have normalized the use of dental veneers, their followers have come to aspire for the same standard of smile as influencers, and that means getting dental veneers.
Instagram influencers have to have the perfect smile, but it also has to appear natural. Looking fake is the worst thing that can happen to an influencer. Porcelain veneers achieve this. You can have a smile that is prettier than everyone else, without looking fake. The naturalness of today’s veneers is startling. To the untrained eye, it is impossible to distinguish veneers from naturally, perfectly white teeth.
Influencers who can achieve this state of natural-looking perfection drive higher rates of engagement with their fans, which grows their followers, allowing influencers to earn more revenue through sponsorship deals and other income streams.
Many influencers such as Kattan, have simply commercialized their own journey to perfection. Kattan’s cosmetics empire is worth a billion dollars, and was built on selling the kinds of fake eyelashes that she has used for years. To make a success of such a strategy requires endorsement deals which often come with free products and services, including getting the kind of porcelain veneers that make the worst teeth look divine.
Today, it’s unthinkable that a person can be an Instagram influencer without dental veneers. Dental veneers have raised the bar on what constitutes a perfect smile. The intimate relationship that Instagram influencers have with their fans has democratized the use of dental veneers and allowed a new generation of social media users to get perfect sets of teeth.