The chic set’s new look is all about imperfection, says Annabelle Spranklen who interviewed Dr Sam Jethwa on why The Hollywood Smile has taken a twist.
When it comes to showbiz, outrageously white, square-straight fake teeth have long been a way of life, like on-set divas and inappropriate auditions. It’s a look that moved far beyond Hollywood, where crooked bites and discoloured canines have been replaced with luminous veneers worthy of their own reality TV show. However, change is afoot and the plastic set is out. Now, there’s a new tribe of teeth in town. Welcome to The Rich Girl Smile.
While pearly white perfection might still be the holy grail for wannabe influencers, for those truly in the know there’s no bigger sign of wealth than a little imperfection. “The Rich Girl Smile is all about seeing people turn away from the big, white, obvious Hollywood smile of the 80s, and seeking smiles that are bespoke to the individual,” says Dr Sam Jethwa, founder of Bespoke Smile and vice president of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, aka the man responsible for de-perfecting the teeth of the rich and famous.
Dr Jethwa is among the new era of dentists turning the tide against traditional cosmetic dentistry in favour of a more natural approach and tells me he’s seeing a rise in inquiries for those seeking the “perfectly imperfect smile.”
He says: “They don’t want to come out of the dentist’s chair looking like they’ve been fitted with a pair of big, white glistening veneers. They want people to notice their smile looks fantastic, but be left wondering ‘have they, haven’t they?’” So what exactly is the Rich Girl Smile? “It perfectly fits the person’s face, the colour matches the whites of their eyes rather than looking too unnaturally white, and there are some natural imperfections which make each smile unique — whether that’s a slight gap or lack of uniformity,” says Dr Jethwa.
Much like cosmetic surgery where the best kinds go completely unnoticed, the same goes for teeth. He points to the Princess of Wales as the poster girl for the trend. Kate (who, reports claimed, turned to world-renowned French dentist Dr Didier Fillion for “harmonious asymmetry” treatment ahead of her 2011 nuptials) has, as Dr Jethwa puts it, “well-aligned, straight teeth, but some tooth wear that has flattened some edges” — an obvious sign these are her own teeth. He says her “smile frame is beautiful — she shows her side and back teeth and this gives her smile a ‘fullness’ — often something many clients want to achieve with a smile makeover.”
If it’s not “The Kate” clients want, it’s probably “The Margot”. For Dr Jethwa, Margot Robbie’s smile ticks nearly every cosmetic dentist’s box. “Great structure, smile shape, tooth shape and position, natural irregularities that add character, and her canines are ever so slightly more discoloured.”
Other Rich Girl Smile mascots include Selena Gomez, who has “crooked central incisors which suit her young features — these characteristics often add a ‘cuteness’ to the face”, says Dr Jethwa, and Blake Lively, thanks to her “dominant canines, considered in some cultures in Asia to be desirable as it mimics a child-like youthful appearance.” Or Sienna Miller, who “actually shows more gum than is ideal but has a beautifully contoured gum line and shows all the way back to her molars.”
For those wanting a Rich Girl Smile it can cost up to £1,500 per tooth, depending on the work required. Treatments might include ultra-thin veneers that are just 0.5mm thick and coat the natural tooth. “These are the gold standard in terms of appearance, longevity and tooth protection,” says Dr Jethwa.
Other techniques include “smile sculpting”’ which sees Dr Jethwa and his team hand-sculpting natural-looking porcelain shells for each patient or “laser gum reshaping” where a high-powered laser cuts away extra gum tissue to make gums look smaller and neater.
Rich girls now want rich smiles, ones that require some secret tooth artistry along the way.
“I love nothing better than if a patient comes to me and asks to look like the best version of themselves — ‘their smile but better’ is how I look at it, and that is super exciting to me,” says Dr Jethwa. Looking on social media and seeing my feed full of overly-bleached, cookie-cutter smiles, I’m inclined to agree.