Many stars in Hollywood have embraced the trend to whiten their teeth to an unrealistic shade of bleached-white for a gleaming smile. Is the teeth-whitening trend safe? The answer is: for the most part, yes. Most dentists recommend professional take-home teeth whitening trays for their safety and long-term benefits or visits to the dental office for periodic whitening procedures. Most of these treatments are safe and, as long as you don’t overdo it, shouldn’t lead to increased sensitivity.
The teeth-whitening trend is a no-brainer. However, some dental trends are not so safe and can lead to health problems down the road. Other dental corrections or trends may not be so straightforward.
Dental Trends to Avoid
Here is a short list of dental trends that are best avoided:
Widening the gap in your teeth – While celebrities like Madonna, Anna Paquin and Seal have charming gaps in their teeth that they refuse to “fix,” dentists discourage others from widening or adding gaps in a quest for a uniquely charming smile. Most dentists would contradict the recommendation that Tyra Banks recently gave a model – to widen the gap in her front teeth to achieve a more distinctive look. A gap that is too wide may crowd the nearby teeth, causing unhealthy displacement of teeth, problems with the bite and poor jaw growth.
Changing “snaggle” teeth or “fangs” – Fans of Kristen Dunst, Steven Buscemi and Jewel may like the quirkiness that small “fangs” (protruding incisors) lend to their smiles, but many of us would prefer to correct our crooked snaggle teeth. Are these stars leading a trend to keep our smiles crooked, and is that safe? Orthodontists recommend that we correct snaggle teeth if they give us crooked bites. Correcting a crooked bite encourages proper jaw development in children and helps avoid jaw problems later in life. If an orthodontist determines that your snaggle tooth doesn’t cause a crooked bite or unhealthy chewing pattern, then any change would be strictly cosmetic.
On the flip side, some people are now requesting that dentists reshape their teeth to make them more fang-like. This trend is also to be discouraged, as it can make the altered teeth overly sensitive and vulnerable to breakage.
Affixing jewels to your teeth – Thanks to many popular rappers who wear glittering “grills” on their front teeth, a trend that has recently gained popularity is to attach a jewel to your teeth using special dental glue received from your dentist or in an at-home kit. Although a dentist can later remove the jewel for you, it is recommended that you avoid this trend. The jewels can trap food and allow unhealthy bacterial growth, while the metals may cause allergic reactions.
Lengthening your crowns – This trend may give you longer teeth and a less “gummy” smile, but the surgery required to give you this look exposes you to the risk of infection, bleeding and swelling. If it is not medically necessary to correct problems with your gums, this trend is best avoided.