The risks are present, but they can’t dampen the unrelenting desire for a sparkling smile, something that can be traced back to antiquity. Archaeologists discovered Egyptian mummies with gold bonding on their teeth, applied similarly to how we’d use a retainer. What function it served is unclear, but the find suggests that teeth have long been a status symbol. Today, a perfect smile implies either great genes or some level of dental work, with a more extreme show of wealth being a mouth full of bling in the form of iced-out grillz. But the cost of dental prosthetics adds an element of exclusivity. Weiss says that at his clinic, the average price of porcelain veneers ranges from $1,200 to $2,000 per tooth. While composite veneers—which are sculpted directly onto the natural tooth using a white-coloured resin—are more affordable, they are less durable and more susceptible to staining.
Toronto influencer Anife Toupeva got composite veneers installed in February, two months before launching her own YouTube channel, which now has over 30,000 subscribers. “I don’t know if there’s any correlation, but it’s interesting that I waited until after I got my teeth done to start posting,” she says. She shared details of the procedure—her way of keeping it real. “The only thing that people want is honesty so that young children aren’t growing up and being hard on them- selves, thinking that these things are natural,” says Toupeva. “The beauty standard is unrealistic, so I wanted to be super transparent and show what I looked like before, even though it was hard for me.”
Whether or not we actually part ways with our masks this year, veneers are here to stay. But instead of passing them off as natural, it’s important to keep the spirit of disclosure at the core of the TikTok “veneers check” alive so that new smiles can be enjoyed and admired without setting an unrealistic standard.