Major influencers like Tana Mongeau, Jeffrey Star, and Gigi Gorgeous all got smile makeovers when their careers took off, and now it seems like there’s a new trend among smaller influencers who are showcasing their filed down “shark teeth” before getting their veneers done.
However, dentists are asking young people to put in research before considering the invasive dentistry. One dentist explained that filing down teeth was not standard procedure for veneers, but that it was for crowns, which are not recommended for young people.
"These are not veneer preparations," Dr. Emi Mawson, a dentist in Cornwall, England, told her 27k TikTok followers as she made a critique video of one of the "veneer" vlogs. "These are crown preparations and there's a big difference."
Lack of knowledge about the differences between these procedures may be leading to irreparable damage, which could lead the individuals to needing dentures by the time they get to their 40s.
The terms veneers and crowns are often used interchangeably by some influencers, but there are key differences between the two.
A Detroit dentist, Dr. Zainab Mackie, said on TikTok: "When you get veneers, most of your tooth is still there, only a little bit is shaved off. When you get crowns your teeth are shaved down to little pegs."
Most veneers require the front of the tooth to be shaved off half a millimeter in preparation for the custom porcelain or composite resin cover, but some veneers require no preparation at all.
Crowns, on the other hand, require that 2 millimeters or more of the enamel be shaved off, creating the pegs seen in many of the TikTok teeth-transformation videos. The procedure is usually performed on decaying, broken teeth.
A London dentist, Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri, informed her 94k TikTok followers that the heavy crown preparation procedure may compromise the tooth's nerve, and this was the reason dentists don’t normally recommend crowns for healthy teeth.
"This is only done if there were cavities to take out or the teeth were already broken," Mackie stated.
Aggressive crown preparation procedure on a young person could be permanently damaging to the teeth, requiring crown replacement multiple times in the future, root canals, and even losing the teeth altogether.
"She's going to have dentures by the age of 40," Manouchehri stated while critiquing a "veneer vlog" on TikTok.
Veneers and crowns are semi-permanent, requiring replacement every 10 to 15 years depending on the specifics of the teeth and type of veneers or crowns.
Consumer Guide to Dentistry estimates the cost of veneers to be $250 to $1,500 a tooth on average, while crowns are $1,000 to $3,500 a tooth on average.
"That's gonna be like $20,000 every 10 years, not to mention when you get a cavity," an Arkansas orthodontist, Dr. Ben Winters, said in a TikTok video.
In addition to the expenses, crowns require the loss of valuable enamel protecting the teeth, and this step is unavoidable even if international services are sought to reduce costs.
"Once your teeth are down to stumps, there's no going back," Mawson stated.