Are Veneers The New BBLs? The Pros And Cons Of The Newest Beauty Trend Promoted By Celebrities And Influencers

If the BBL era is already on its way out, can we expect veneers to fall out of fashion just as quickly?

By Andrea Mew5 min read
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Many of us had that amazingly awkward stage in life where we, alongside our pre-teen peers, had braces to better our smile. You remember the days: being called out of junior high classes for orthodontist appointments, choosing rubber band colors based on the season or upcoming holidays, trying your hardest to keep food out of those little metal brackets…But braces only went so far. They straightened the teeth of many young men and women, but the newest trend in dentistry is shelling out a pretty penny for dental veneers in your adult life.

Think of veneers as a custom shell for your teeth that hide any imperfections you may have. Whether your teeth are chipped, uneven, stained, or otherwise damaged, dental veneers perfect your smile when placed by a dental professional. Ever wonder why so many Hollywood celebrities somehow have flawless grins? That impeccably straight, white, aesthetically pleasing Hollywood smile is, more often than not, a custom-made set of dental veneers.

How Do Veneers Even Work?

Here’s what would happen if you hypothetically sat down in the dentist’s chair to get veneers. First, you would choose between porcelain and resin-based composite veneers. If you opt for porcelain, your dentist will have to remove tooth enamel before placing the porcelain caps on top. If you opt for resin-based composite veneers, your dentist may not need to remove any enamel at all. This option is less expensive and is more easily replaced if damaged or broken. Whereas resin-based composite veneers will likely only last about five years and are more prone to wear and tear, porcelain veneers can last up to 20 years and won’t easily stain, chip, or fracture.

The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that veneers range from $925 to $2,500 per tooth, but celebrity veneers can skyrocket in price. Michael Apa, a dentist who has crafted “designer smiles” for names like Elsa Hosk and Chloë Sevigny, allegedly charges up to $80,000 for a full set. Since most insurance companies consider the procedure to be cosmetic in nature, you likely won’t receive any coverage.

If you’re going porcelain, once you’ve had your smile molded, a lab will craft custom-fit veneers. In the meantime, your dentist might put some temporary veneers over your teeth. Whichever type you pick, your dentist will then bond the caps to your teeth with strong dental adhesive.

Veneers range from $925 to $2,500 per tooth and typically aren't covered by insurance.

Once you’ve had veneers placed, you’ll always need veneers in the future. During the aftercare period, you’ll likely be advised against drinking dark liquids that might stain your teeth or biting hard objects. The veneers will last as long as the type of material used and how well you take care of them.

What’s the Reality of Having Veneers?

Our world is becoming more and more obsessed with image. It could be tempting to get veneers when it seems like every influential person gets to rock a perfect smile in every snap taken of them. This temptation is doubled by the fact that veneers are a pretty quick fix for many things that people perceive as problems. Veneers solve discolored smiles, evidence of tooth grinding, small smiles, crookedness, gaps, and more. 

That being said, many of those same cosmetic desires can be achieved through whitening treatments, Invisalign, or braces. The difference is how much time a person is willing to invest in the process. If a person is itching for a quick fix that will perfect the image they’re building on social media, then braces, Invisalign, or great lengths of time spent on multiple whitening sessions could be thought of as an inconvenience. It boils down to how willing someone is to accept a slow burn or how certain they are that they’d rather not wait.

To date, #veneers videos on TikTok collectively have 2.8 billion views of dental professionals sharing shocking before and after transformations, exposing which celebrities have had veneers placed, and of course, your everyday person warning others through “storytimes” about their procedures gone wrong.

In one video, Dr. Huzefa Kapadia, DDS (@dentite) reacts to a woman who apparently went to the country of Turkey to get her “teeth shaved off for veneers.” He expressed his shock, stating that dentists actually aren’t supposed to shave your teeth down to nubs to place veneers on and calling it an irreversible mistake. According to Dr. Kapadia, dentists in the U.S. wouldn’t be able to have a license and do that for veneers since that is actually a technique used for very intense crown prep, not veneers. But if someone is innocently scrolling TikTok and comes across a veneer transformation video made by someone who went out of the country to get their new smile for a discounted price, they might be misled into a permanent procedure.

Even if people aren’t having their teeth shaved down into little shark-like bites, this viral moment for veneers still isn’t fixing everyone’s personal problems with how their smile looks. A man from the Philippines, John Aballe, shared his story with Buzzfeed after he participated in the viral “veneers check” challenge which was making its round on TikTok. He asserted that his new teeth looked like “rabbit veneers” because they were too large and that he felt “not totally satisfied” with the results. As such, he shared that he’d have to save up money to get his veneers redone even though the first procedure was meant to build up his confidence and “improve” himself.

Zanna van Dijk, an influencer with over 328,000 followers on Instagram, also expressed how much she regretted getting veneers in a tell-all post.

“Back when I was young and foolish, I spontaneously got veneers without thinking about the long term implications. They weren’t done well and they have caused me 8 years of troubles. Falling off frequently and costing a bomb to replace each time. Plus because I didn’t get orthodontic work done before I had them put on, they didn’t actually give me the results I wanted,” she wrote in the caption.

After vetting five different dental practices, Van Dijk settled on one to get her “mistake” fixed through orthodontics and new veneers, but regardless of how the mistake will be fixed, now she’s stuck with veneers for life. As is the case with many other beautifying procedures, this choice is irreversible.

The Standard Is Set by Celebrities and Trickles Down

One thing that remains consistent with fleeting beauty trends is how celebrities lead the charge but then influencers adopt the trend and run with it. With how many people in the entertainment industry have veneers, it’s easy to see how the cosmetic procedure could become a sought-after standard for the wider public. Like with the Brazilian Butt Lift craze, celebrities see a particular body standard come into fashion and rush to achieve it. That said, celebrities have more resources than we common folk do to afford surgeries in the first place and have aesthetically pleasing results with far fewer surgical complications.

"Everyone in Hollywood has veneers," said one aesthetic dentist Sivan Finkel, DMD, in an interview with Refinery29. “The first thing that happens when someone starts their career and moves out to LA is their agent tells them, 'You've gotta get veneers now.' I do a lot of work on up-and-coming people, or people who think they're up and coming, because they're competing with everyone who has quote-unquote perfect teeth."

Even the most unassuming celebrities, regardless of age, appear to either seek out a veneer-perfected grin or be pressured into it by their management. A TikTok account @veneercheck run by a Harvard DMD and UCSF Prosthodontics specialist, Dr. Sara, analyzes celebrity smiles to identify whether or not the person in question underwent cosmetic dentistry. From Nick Jonas to Ana De Armas to Bachelor contestants, Dr. Sara uses her expertise to discuss different procedures but cannot confirm whether or not a celebrity has actually undergone them as most celebs stay silent about what work they get done.

For example, she analyzed Jojo Siwa’s smile, a singer and dancer who has been in the public eye from a very young age. Siwa once had a very different looking set of teeth but more recently has been pictured with perfectly uniform teeth, which are all a similar color. Dr. Sara suggested that Siwa had either a crown or veneer placed on every single tooth.

Again, unless a celebrity confirms that they had a procedure, there’s no way of knowing for certain what sort of work they had done. That said, before and after pictures can suggest a few revealing truths about their appearance. A few other familiar faces in the entertainment industry who may have veneers are top-name actors like Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck, and Zac Efron and singers like Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus.

Do I Really Need Veneers for a Good Grin?

Veneers can be positively transformative for people who struggle with visually and structurally damaged teeth, but they are in no way the end-all-be-all for dental beauty. While you should consult with your own dentist about the different pathways you could take to become more confident with your smile, there are a few options you should know about to achieve a whiter, straighter smile without veneers entirely.

Teeth whitening can be performed either at home or at the dentist’s office. A few in-office treatments would be light-activated bleaching with a peroxide-containing gel, power bleaching using concentrated hydrogen peroxide in water, microabrasion slurries, or custom-made trays that can be taken home for partially-supervised use. Over-the-counter whitening products and natural teeth whitening methods could be cheaper and less of a stress to your body, as many teeth whitening procedures can cause adverse effects like sensitivity or gingival irritation.

Coffee, tea, soda, red wine, and dark berries are known to contribute to a stained smile over time.

If you’re looking for natural teeth whitening tips, the first step is to watch what types of food and beverages pass over those pearly whites. Dark drinks, coffee, tea, soda, red wine, and dark berries are known to contribute to a stained smile over time. Professionals would then advise you to brush often after eating and stay patient with using things like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, charcoal, or oil pulling.

Another cosmetic dental treatment that could be used in place of veneers is teeth bonding. During dental bonding, dentists apply a tooth-colored resin to minimize the appearance of damage. It’s much more cost effective than veneers and takes even less time to see the results. In addition, gum contouring could be another cosmetic treatment that keeps you from feeling like you need veneers. During contouring, dentists cut away an uneven or damaged gumline, improving both the look of your gums and teeth in less time and at a lower cost overall than if you were to get veneers.

Closing Thoughts

At the same time that the body-positivity movement is making its way through every aspect of modern culture, standards for perfection prevail. It’s not enough anymore for the most influential people in the entertainment industry to just have good dentistry; now, permanent additions to their grins appear to be the norm. Veneers seem nice on paper, but in practice, they have a mass-produced quality to them (ironic, since they’re custom-made) which might detract from your own unique look. What you perceive to be a flaw could be a defining trait that people find endearing about your appearance and which sets you apart from other people. 

Much like the trend to boost your booty with a BBL, veneers have a signature look that might not be in style in a few years. As we’ve seen, the BBL is falling out of trend already, and trying to reverse it is either extremely expensive or physically impossible, which is what you might have to expect if you go down the path of veneers.

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