Ashley Graham Reveals Her 'Cracked Tooth' on Instagram—Here's What to Know
Ashley Graham is known for being candid with her fans, and she just shared a behind-the-scenes photo proving that even supermodels don't always look picture-perfect.
Graham, 34, shared a close-up of her mouth in her Instagram Stories, revealing one front tooth that's noticeably smaller than her others. "Isaac head butted me and my tooth cracked off," she wrote over top. (Isaac is Graham's nearly 2-year-old son.) "Happy Hump Day!" she joked underneath.
While Graham didn't get into specifics, it looks like she has veneers, something that's popular with celebrities and regular people, too. But…what are veneers, exactly, and why are they larger than your normal teeth? Here's what you need to know.
What are veneers?
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells composed of tooth-colored materials that are designed to cover the front side of teeth, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Veneers are usually made by a dental technician in dental lab, working from a model given by your dentist.
"Veneers are absolutely an incredible method of changing the appearance of the tooth," Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, dean at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, tells Health. Veneers can be made of porcelain or resin composite materials, but porcelain tends to be the most common, Dr. Wolff says.
How common are veneers?
It's hard to say exactly how many people have veneers, but they're more common than you'd think. And, while plenty of celebrities and Instagram influencers have them, Dr. Wolff says that regular people get these dental fixes done, too.
RELATED: Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth
How are veneers attached?
The process is a little more involved that it seems. Your dentist will need to remove a small amount of enamel from your tooth (or teeth) to accommodate the shell. (That explains why Graham's tooth looks so small compared to her other teeth, Dr. Wolff says.) Then the veneers are secured by a bonding agent, like glue.
"At the first visit, the tooth enamel is slightly roughened and drilled to prepare it for the veneers," cosmetic dentist Marc Lowenberg, DDS, of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in New York City, tells Health. Then, an impression is taken of your teeth and sent to a ceramist, who will make the veneers. "You leave the office with temporary veneers, Dr. Lowenberg says. "Then the ceramist replicates the smile design and fabricates the porcelain facades," he adds.
At the second visit, the temporary veneers are removed and the customized veneers are glued onto the teeth. "Both visits are performed under local anesthesia," Dr. Lowenberg says. "Once the procedure is completed, we have the patient come back a week later to adjust the bite or occlusion of the new teeth."
Do you have to take any special precautions with veneers?
It's usually recommended that people avoid certain foods and beverages that could stain or discolor the veneers like coffee, tea, or red wine, the ADA says. Veneers can also chip or fracture, so you need to be mindful of chomping on really hard or crunchy foods, Dr. Wolff says.
Why do people get veneers?
It depends. Veneers can help correct stained, chipped, decayed, or crooked teeth. "Sometimes, the shape of the teeth and the cosmetics of teeth are so bad that there's just no way to do anything about it without literally covering the tooth," Dr. Wolff says. "A porcelain veneer can cover the tooth without actually doing a lot of damage to the tooth."
If you're interested in getting veneers, talk to your dentist about whether you're a good candidate fo them. "They're really a fantastic option for some people, and can make a huge difference," Dr. Wolff says.
To get more inspiring stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter