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In today’s beauty-adoring society, most people have the desire to look and feel their best, since facial and physical appearance have a crucial role to play in an individual’s self-esteem, happiness and eventual success. It is undeniably human nature to attribute positive personality characteristics to attractive individuals, and such people customarily receive favourable treatment in a variety of situations.1 Beauty is subjective and difficult to delineate, as it lies in the eyes of the beholder, and the same applies to a beautiful smile. A substantial amount of research has suggested that smiles are powerful social forces that positively influence interpersonal judgements in innumerable ways. In global business, beautiful smiles are widely used as a marketing tool to produce positive impressions among fans and other consumers.
Service with a smile is an established mantra in customer relationship management,2 and smiling faces are omnipresent in advertisements.3 It is therefore certain that contemporary celebrities in different fields desire attractive smiles that suit their personalities and professions. In the modern world, social media has become the overarching tool for self-promotion and marketing, and it is now a platform whereby fans follow celebrities, causing them to be increasingly self-conscious of their smiles and beauty. This vicious cycle of celebrities’ desire and need for beauty and their glamour business have fuelled the growth of the smile beautification business in dentistry. This article mainly focuses on smile enhancement of social media celebrities using the Smile Makeup protocol developed by the author, based on his established minimally invasive cosmetic dentistry (MiCD) concept and treatment protocol.4
Who is a celebrity?
This question seems simple, but the definition of “celebrity” may confuse many, as there are varieties of celebrities in the society, and the last century has witnessed a dramatic shift in the definition of “celebrity” in terms of cultural and social acceptance. Celebrity status is accorded to someone who is known for being well known,5 and the dictionary definition of a “celebrity” is “a person who is famous”;6 in summary then, a person who is recognized by the masses for his or her popularity is considered a celebrity. From a psychosociological perspective, celebrities are usually presented as role models, and it is a normal part of life development for people to model themselves on their favourite celebrities as part of the process of identity exploration.7, 8 Basically, celebrities have three important societal aspects in common. First, they are well known for being well known within their realm; second, they appear to hold some influence over the public consciousness; and third, they come from all walks of life, so they may be successful business leaders, athletes, actresses, politicians, scientists, authors and musicians, among others.
In the past, celebrities used to receive coverage through traditional media such as the press, film and TV and had little direct connection to or communication with their fans and followers. However, with the advent of Internet- based media, people now can bypass the entertainment, press and TV industries and launch themselves as celebrities through the use of social media, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Free social media platforms have made available the opportunity to become a celebrity even to ordinary people, and the trends of “celebritification” have become more pivotal to our culture than ever before. The author classifies his cosmetic dentistry-seeking celebrity patients into two categories in order to manage their treatment in a stress-free, comfortable and confidential manner.
Traditional media celebrities
These are celebrities in core and constant areas such as entertainment, sports, politics, religion and business who have worked strenuously to gain recognition, whose journey to fame has been characterised by persistence, and who are widely popular among people in their own country and/or internationally. These celebrities are frequently highlighted through traditional media such as press, film and TV. Even though these celebrities have their own social media networks, they generally do not interact on a personal level with their fans, followers or audiences and prefer to separate their professional and personal lives. When accepting celebrities in this category for cosmetic dentistry treatment, the clinician must consider that these people are very busy and demand extra attention, such as exclusive scheduling, super comfort, supreme confidentiality and faster treatment modalities. Generally speaking, the day-to-day business of cosmetic dentistry of the clinic cannot fully rely on this category of celebrity, since there are limited numbers of such celebrities in any given society.
Social media celebrities
These are a new kind of celebrity in the contemporary global market. They are groomed or self-created and have become popular using social media networks. Unlike traditional media celebrities, these celebrities focus on developing direct connections with their fans and are active in engaging in an interactive dialogue on social media, fostering the illusion of a personal connection. They believe in self-marketing and promotion, creating personal brands, and invest considerable time in managing their profiles, ensuring that their photographs, comments and videos are in line with their overall brand image, either personally or through their supporting team. Owing to their constant social media activity, these celebrities are now evolving into a wonderful market for cosmetic dentists around the world. Although there is no precise means of categorising social media celebrities in the market, to understand the possible social influences of cosmetic dentistry-seeking celebrities, the author classifies social media celebrities into four levels based on their social media followers and fans (Table 1).
In order to become known in a society, a person needs to possess some extra value in his or her domain. From an MiCD practice management point of view, the qualities of traditional media and social media celebrities are divided into four main domains to help MiCD clinicians understand the perceptions, ego and emotions of the celebrity being treated.
Attractiveness: In this domain, look, acting, voice and style are considered core virtues, and celebrities from entertainment industries like film, modelling, music, acting, fashion, beauty pageantry and TV fall under this domain. The celebrities in the attractiveness domain develop and manage their fan bases through deliberate self-presentation using a variety of traditional media like press, TV and social media; hence, they are very sensitive regarding their facial and smile appearance and always covet the best beauty and style to enhance their popularity.
Expertise: Knowledge, skill, experience and qualifications are considered the core strengths of this domain; thus, famous people in sport, science and technology, business, management, finance, fine arts and literature fall under this domain. Depending on their public contact and followers, the celebrities in this domain may also be sensitive regarding their facial and smile appearance but not to the same extent as celebrities in the attractiveness domain.
Trustworthiness: In this domain, genuineness, reliability, trustworthiness, honesty and other similar ethics and inner qualities are deemed key strengths. The celebrities in this domain earn their fame and popularity from ethical business, humanitarian work and deeds; hence, facial beauty and smile aesthetics may not be among their highest priorities.
Contrived: This is actually a pseudo celebrity group that does not possess any common trait; however, they are popular or visible in the traditional media or may have a huge number of followers in social media just because they have close association with other celebrities and involvement in their activities. These self-proclaimed celebrities generally have high egos and demonstrate fake emotions. Hence, practising cosmetic dentists should take extra precaution in communication and dealing with celebrities of this domain.
Treating celebrities: MiCD five Cs requirements
Naturally, a person’s success, high popularity, fame and ability to influence public consciousness brings about positive or negative changes to that person’s perceptions, personality and desires. Depending upon the domain of the celebrity and the level of his or her popularity and public influence, the type and sensitivity of changes vary. In this article, the author focuses on celebrities in the attractiveness domain, and his 25 years’ of experience in treating multiple categories of celebrities and high-profile patients has revealed that those in the attractiveness domain are very stressed, are unaware of the value of natural tooth structures and their beauty, and generally have a biased perception of facial and smile aesthetic trends, desiring physical beauty, even if unrealistic. However, in terms of emotional expression, the author has found that the majority of these celebrities are emotionally weak and fragile in nature and are actually confused as to what they want. Hence, the author suggests that a clinician must meticulously understand the psychological components (perception, personality and desire) of the Smile Design Wheel (Fig. 1)9 for these celebrities in depth and handle them with care and compassion. Treating celebrities does not necessarily mean beautifying their smiles alone, but also enhancing their emotions positively and bringing some happiness into their lives through dentistry.
It is quite natural for a cosmetic dentist to be excited when a celebrity visits his or her practice seeking cosmetic treatment. However, sometimes treating celebrities may become stressful and frustrating and may even fail if the five Cs requirements of MiCD are not met during treatment.
Competency: The first and foremost component is competency. Evaluating your own and your team’s clinical competency level in handling cosmetic dentistry cases of high-profile celebrities is very important before you accept their case for treatment in your practice. If you think you and your team do not have the requisite competencies, then it is your ethical, professional and commercial responsibility to invite suitable experts into your practice or to refer the celebrity to a practice that has the capability so that the celebrity can receive the best possible treatment. Another key area is treatment planning, because any overtreatment or over-ambitious treatment planning proposal may backfire on your reputation and business in the long run. Always keep in mind the possible biological, technical and skill limitations that may force you to modify the treatment planning at the execution level.
Comfort: Comfort and celebrities go hand in hand, and celebrities generally desire an exclusive appointment schedule, the most comfortable physical environment, careful handling of their egos and emotions, painless treatment procedures, a reduced number of clinical visits and timely completion of treatment. Hence, if you think you cannot fulfil these universal celebrity desires at your practice, then it is wise to explain these issues clearly to the celebrity or his or her representative in advance.
Communication: Communication in cosmetic dentistry plays a vital role in treatment success and patient satisfaction. In this regard, the author suggests using the Smile Design Wheel and considering the psychological (perception, personality, desire), health (general, specific, dentogingival), functional (occlusion, phonetic comfort) and aesthetic (macro, mini, micro) factors during communication and smile design. Always ensure that your patient understands the possible aesthetic outcomes, invasiveness (biological cost), required time and financial cost of the treatment procedures. Clarifying his or her smile aesthetic outcome after treatment for the patient in advance is crucial and helpful for better communication. There are a number of methods that you can use to communicate this once you have done your treatment planning, such as Quick Smile Design (direct aesthetic mock-up), digital aesthetic mock-up using suitable dental software, laboratory-fabricated indirect smile trial and a combination of the aforementioned procedures.
Confidentiality: This is the basic right of any dental patient. However, in the case of celebrities, the clinician needs to be especially cautious, since many of them do not want it known that they have visited a dental clinic and undergone cosmetic dentistry treatment to enhance their smiles. Hence, one should be very careful and obtain the necessary permission before capturing photographs of celebrities in the clinic areas and before posting to your social media channels. It is the author’s personal view that placing too much emphasis on celebrities’ visits to the practice may disturb other patients’ egos and emotions and may negatively impact on the ethical principle of equal treatment in clinical dentistry. Hence, as described in the comfort component, it is better to manage the celebrity’s appointment separately (either as the first patient or as the last patient of the day) rather than scheduling him or her between appointments with the general public. If you really want to exploit the publicity mileage of treating celebrities at your practice, then the better and more professional way is to obtain written testimonials about your overall services from these celebrities and from other clients and to share these together so that everyone feels acknowledged and respected.
Consent: In the MiCD clinical protocol, obtaining written informed consent is mandatory for maintaining professionalism and for legal purposes. The content of the consent may vary according to the local dental council or the relevant health authority. It is the practitioner’s responsibility to maintain the protocol of consent.
Once you know your celebrity patient’s category and domain and once you have considered the fice Cs, then you need to categorise the case, that is, what type of cosmetic dentistry treatment your patient actually needs or wants. According to the MiCD clinical protocol, cosmetic cases are divided into four simple categories:10
Rejuvenate: A simple procedure—and the most effective aesthetic procedure in MiCD—that enhances smile aesthetics with slight modifications of alignment, brightness and contour of the anterior teeth—this is also known as the MiCD ABC principle.
Restore: A process of replacing missing dental tissue to enhance health, function and aesthetics.
Rehabilitate: A process of complete reconstruction of the smile in order to harmonise aesthetics and functionality for long-term health and happiness—it falls under the MiCD complex category, as it generally demands a multidisciplinary approach.
Repair: A process of maintaining and improving previously performed aesthetic restorative and other work.
Smile Makeup the MiCD way
Since the introduction of the MiCD concept and its treatment protocol in 2009, MiCD do no harm cosmetic dentistry has become globally popular and its value and benefits accepted. The clinical experiences of the author and MiCD Global Academy members at multiple clinical centres has revealed increasing awareness among cosmetic dentistry-seeking patients of the long-term benefits of minimally invasive dental procedures in saving the natural tooth structure. It is interesting to note that contemporary dental patients are curious and concerned about the biological cost (invasiveness) of treatment before starting the procedure.
The emergence of such positive changes in consumer awareness regarding the invasiveness of cosmetic dentistry prompted the author to exclusively publicise the rejuvenate category of MiCD cases among clinicians, the general public and celebrities around the world. Hence, in 2017, based on his MiCD concept and treatment protocol, the author officially introduced the Smile Makeup (Fig. 2) of cosmetic dentistry for celebrities (Fig. 3) and the general public.11 The author believes that Smile Makeup should be an inseparable part of the day-to-day personal make-up of any individual. Clinicians must understand that looking good, feeling good and smelling good is an innate human desire in modern society, and the global market of such business is skyrocketing. Therefore, introducing the Smile Makeup package in clinical practice can enable clinicians to deliver smile enhancement treatment with simplicity, with efficiency and at low biological and financial cost.
Smile Makeup is an innovative, advanced dental procedure designed exclusively to enhance and harmonise the smile and facial attractiveness of a person at minimal biological, financial and time cost.11 It is composed of three basic components of attraction and glamour, namely the beauty, style and aroma (smell) of a smile. During the Smile Makeup process, the smile’s beauty, style and aroma are analysed using the Smile Makeup Index (Fig. 4), which helps to objectively quantify the status of the existing smile and its treatment complexity, making communication with patients easy and fruitful.
The Smile Makeup package has the following key benefits:11
- is patient-centric and respects the patient’s right to choose the smile he or she desires;
- focuses on naturo-mimetic smile design principles and emphasises individual customisation of smile aesthetics rather than creating symmetrical stock smiles;
- modifies the beauty, style and aroma of a compromised smile and creates synergistic effects to enhance and harmonise facial attractiveness and the smile;
- is painless and has little to no biological cost;
- is a fast, predictable, healthy and affordable procedure compared with conventional cosmetic dentistry approaches;
- does not change the existing occlusion, so is very comfortable for the patient;
- reduces the likelihood of overtreatment and safeguards the patient’s trust;
- complements facial make-up in a true sense.
Smile Makeup experiences
Ms Niti Shah, Miss Nepal International 2017 (Figs. 5–7):
“I never knew having good teeth makes such a difference in a person’s facial beauty and confidence. I had two small gaps in between my front teeth and the shape of some front teeth were not in harmony with my smile. After winning the Miss Nepal International title at the Miss Nepal competition in 2017, I was introduced to the Smile Makeup International Clinic of Vedic Smile Pvt. Ltd, where a team of Smile Makeup experts did my smile analysis and Quick Smile Design (QSD). After completion of the QSD, I was asked about any modification I wanted. Once I had approved the design, the team at the Smile Makeup clinic completed my Smile Makeup procedure without any drilling and touching my natural teeth; hence, I did not have to go through any pain and discomfort. I am so glad to see the result of my Smile Makeup, which has drastically enhanced the beauty and style level of my smile. Now I love my smile so much and have gained the confidence to smile at any context. When I look back at my old close-up pictures, I feel I should have done my Smile Makeup before I participated in Miss Nepal. I am very happy to be one of the clients of the Smile Makeup International Clinic of Vedic Smile Pvt. Ltd.”
Ms Sahara Basnet, Miss Nepal Asia Pacific International 2017 and Miss Intellectual 2017 (Figs. 8–10):
“On 2 June 2017, I was crowned Miss Nepal Asia Pacific International 2017 and had begun the race to my international to compete along with girls from 50 other countries. However, even after being a certified beauty queen, I never truly felt flawless. Glancing at the pictures post-pageant, I realised that, though I looked good, having a visible crooked smile in a way made me look unpolished. That is when Smile Makeup was introduced into my life through Vedic Smile. By using the transparent Smile Makeup braces for only two months, my teeth were completely transformed. With the help of Smile Makeup braces, my teeth were perfectly aligned and they were also restored and reshaped into perfect sizes, making them look absolutely flawless. This alteration drastically enhanced my smile aesthetics as a model and especially as a pageant queen. My Smile Makeup improved my looks and made me instantly recognisable for my flawless smile. This not only boosted my confidence on a day-to-day basis but also allowed me to have a foot forwards when it came to my stage presence on the international platform. This was not only the case in the pageantry world, but also when it came to the corporate world. Having a flawless smile amplified my confidence, gave me a presentable front and aided my endeavours towards becoming a public speaker. Even in my personal life, Smile Makeup enhanced my smile and made me look more radiant and sociable. Even though I used to feel like my crooked and discoloured teeth never held me back, having the Smile Makeup done has now completely changed my outlook in life. When it comes to the glamour world, now I am recognised as the girl with the best smile by my social media followers and I haven’t looked back ever since. Smile Makeup not only changed the way I view myself, but it has drastically changed the way other people view me as well. The importance of Smile Makeup aesthetically is immeasurable, but it also had a profound impact on my personality and the way I carry myself every day. In a way, Smile Makeup gave me a new identity.”
The Smile Makeup package exclusively focuses on enhancing the beauty, style and aroma (health) of a smile with minimal biological and time costs, which is alluring for both the public and celebrities. The free platform of social media has given every ordinary individual the opportunity to become a celebrity, and the trend of celebritification has become more central to our culture than ever before. Moreover, the desire of the general public to become noticeable in social media groups has increased dramatically within the last few years and has opened up a huge market for smile beautification and its related business. Hence, the author suggests to all clinicians who desire to treat celebrities and high-profile patients in their practice for aesthetic reasons, to first offer the Smile Makeup package because the majority of smile problems are actually related to minor alignment, brightness and contour imperfections of the anterior teeth and gingivae, all of which can easily be beautified using this simple and minimally invasive approach.
Editorial note: This article originally appeared in MiCD Clinical Journal, Issue January-June 2021, and an edited version is provided here with permission from the author. A list of references is available from the publisher. This article was published in cosmetic dentistry—beauty & science Vol. 15, Issue 1/2021.