Humans have always been obsessed with capturing images of themselves. From the tracings of human hands on cave walls to self-portraits, the invention of the camera, and of course, the smart phone. Taking selfies has become utterly entwined in our modern day lives, so much so that the Oxford English Dictionary declared the word “selfie” their word of the year in 2013.

Some people claim that selfies are not so harmless though as some studies have shown a small correlation between taking selfies and narcissistic behavior. While there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to look good, many dentists have been noticing an increase of people coming into their practices wanting to address their “horse teeth.” Dentists have been talking many of those people out of unnecessary cosmetic dentistry, and believe that selfies may be to blame.

young adult woman flossing her teeth

The Selfie/Dental Connection

So what exactly is the connection between selfies and a distorted perception of your front teeth? There are a lot of factors that come into play. Think about the key differences between a selfie and when someone takes your picture. The most obvious one is the distance between you and the camera. Generally speaking, unless you are using a selfie-stick, the camera is going to be pretty close to you when you are taking a selfie. On the other hand, when someone else is taking your photo, the camera is often farther than arm’s length away from you.

The cameras on smartphones are small and use some significant lensing to extend their light intake into something similar to a normal camera. But when you’re close to the camera, this can also lead to significant distortion of your face, including making your teeth larger.

Another thing to consider is what is in the center of the image. Unless you are making the much maligned “duck face,” your teeth will be at the center of the image in a selfie. We normally associate smiling with a release of anxiety, but since your teeth are now the center of attention, they can sometimes become a source of anxiety and overanalysis. Any little imperfection is going to be immediately clear to you, and your brain will likely pick up on things that are not even there, hence the horse teeth issue.

Don’t Jump the Gun!

It is important to remember that imperfections are not inherently wrong. If you find that you are unhappy with your teeth, then you should consider visiting a cosmetic dentist, but it is important to be receptive to input from others, especially your dentist.

It is natural for your front teeth to be slightly longer and a little more dominant than your surrounding teeth. This actually gives you an aesthetically pleasing curved smile. Plus, it’s a feature of a youthful smile, whereas teeth that have been worn flat look older.

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile, either in the mirror or in selfies, please call  for an appointment with a Columbus, OH cosmetic dentist who can give an honest, professional opinion at the Firouzian Dentistry.