Capitalising on the selfie generation
Nimisha Nariapara discusses what this sudden change means for the dental profession.
In recent years, the explosion of social media apps has completely changed our way of life. It’s not just about having a Facebook page anymore. Now it’s about posting the perfect pose on Instagram. It’s about keeping up to date with the latest trends on Tiktok and documenting all the little moments with Snapchat.
But what has this sudden shift in social media meant for people’s self-image and the dental treatments they desire?
A positive look at a world of diversity
A helpful aspect of social media is that it gives us a glimpse of diversity around the world. We are all more connected than ever before. It only takes a simple search on a social media site to find content that is entirely tailored to your interests, no matter what these may be.
This can be highly beneficial to people’s self-image and health. Especially if they use these apps to predominantly seek out content that promotes healthy living, body positivity and other uplifting messages. In fact, a small study performed found that young women viewed their appearance in a much more optimistic light when they had been exposed to social media pages that promoted messages of self-love and which showed diverse bodies as content. This proves that these apps can have a beneficial effect on those using them.
There are also the community aspects of such apps to consider and what these can do for mental health. People often use their social media accounts to form communities of likeminded individuals who share their passions. This can be incredibly helpful, and, in consequence, lead to people feeling more positive about themselves and their image.
This is especially true if individuals are self-conscious about certain aspects of their appearance. Social media opens the door to finding others who have the same concerns about the same body parts or features, allowing individuals to love the skin they’re in.
Filtering the truth
Unfortunately, there are negative sides to social media too. These apps are inevitably built around a reward system (likes, shares, and so on). This can lead to individuals chasing numbers and doing all they can to create content that will draw in extra attention. This is a double-edged sword. This may feel good in the short term. However, over time this craving for validation can lead to addictive behaviour. This may eventually turn self-destructive.
Even a simple post on social media can impact brain chemistry. Apps such as Instagram and TikTok provide an endless amount of almost immediate attention that requires very little effort to achieve. Snapping a photo or short video and uploading it and receiving praise provides a dopamine hit that can quickly become addictive. Especially if someone is suffering from loneliness or depression.
Social media can also give people false expectations in regards to how they should look. One of the most popular functions on many social media apps is the ability to use filters. Filters are often funny and specifically designed to drastically alter people’s appearance. However, there are many filters that aim to ‘beautify’ people when taking selfies. These can lead to unrealistic expectations, eventually causing them to form a negative opinion of themselves. It can potentially develop anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Social media and dentistry
So, as social media can have such a significant impact on body image, it makes sense that this includes how people feel about their smiles. Indeed, research suggests that social media is one of the driving causes behind increased interest in cosmetic treatments such as tooth whitening and veneers.
Social media shows no sign of stopping and more and more people being enticed by images of perfect smiles. Now is the perfect time for laboratories to embrace the zeitgeist. They must come together with the dentists they work with to identify openings for treatments such as tooth whitening and veneers.
As cosmetic treatments are so transformative, you need to ensure that aesthetics is a top priority. By encouraging dentists to use technology such as the CS 3700 intraoral scanner from Carestream Dental, which has inbuilt shade match technology, you can help guarantee high-quality aesthetics when crafting veneers.
Be part of the movement
Social media has both good and bad sides. Its inevitable popularity means that cosmetic trends are likely here to stay. By offering dentists these products and encouraging them to use technology that helps to perfect the final outcome, you can ensure patients achieve the selfie-ready smile they desire.
References were supplied.
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