A perfectly straight, sparkling white smile: who doesn't want that?
Apparently a lot of people, says New York City-based cosmetic dentist Dr. Laura Torrado.
It just so happens one of the biggest trends in dentistry is a more natural smile. "We've overdone it with aesthetics. If your teeth are too white or too big, it looks unnatural so people are coming back in to make their smiles look more natural," she says.
Overly white, rectangular "Chicklet teeth" are a phenomenon of the aughts, when veneers and bleaching treatments became popularized by Hollywood starlets with Cheshire Cat smiles. Natural-looking teeth have gradations in tone, tiny imperfections in their shape, and can even vary by skin tone.
"The first thing many of my patients tell me now is 'I don't want to look forced,'" explains Dr. Irwin Smigel, President of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics and Inventor of Supersmile. "There's a delicate balance in making yourself look younger, and too perfect teeth can make you look unnatural, like you're trying too hard."
"Teeth need to have more shape to them, and different angles, so they don't look too perfect," he adds.
And dentists are actually refining patient's too-perfect veneers to make them look more natural. "People will come in from other dentists with laminates that look too fake," explains New York City cosmetic dentist Dr. Thomas Connelly. "We'll put in little rough edges, nuances and slight rotations that aren't noticeable, but will give the smile a natural look."
One of the most notable procedures being reversed is the closing of the gap.
According to Torrado, people want their gap back because it looks and feels more real. One of her patients, who recently had it reversed, simply liked her self better that way.
"Some very famous people have asked me for a gap between their teeth," says Smigel. "They were born with gaps between their teeth, and they don't want to change their look completely."
Lara Stone, arguably the supermodel of the moment and starring in the Vuitton's spring ad campaign, has a large gap between her two front teeth. And stars like Madonna, True Blood's Anna Paquin and Chanel model and Johnny Depp significant other Vanessa Paradis seem to like themselves that way too.
And Lauren Hutton was made famous thanks to her space.
"A lot of people who have a gap like to stick with it," says Connelly.
But some are still choosing to close it -- even after years of using it to advance their careers. "I just closed a male model's gap," Connelly explains. "He looks good, but he was very successful with it."
"Gaps looks great on the right person," adds Connelly. "You've got to wear it well and have confidence with it."
The price for perfecting your grin in the first place can cost a pretty penny (bonding is approximately $800, while a veneer can run upwards of $2000). Add in a reverse procedure (veneers are not reversible) and your smile is suddenly a small fortune.
Maybe what's different really does make you beautiful, gap included.