The East and the West don't always see eye to eye on trends, and this isn't New York and Los Angeles we are talking about. It's Japan and the United States, where many women apparently have a different concept of what constitutes good beauty enhancement.
In America, people spend thousands of dollars to have straight teeth through orthodontics. In Japan, however, a trend has been underway for a couple of years in which crooked teeth through purposeful dental cosmetic surgery have become the rage. In Japan, the crooked teeth trend is called yaeba, or double tooth.
Japanese men are said to find the crooked teeth attractive so many women in Japan are paying dentists to create snaggleteeth or fangs for the popular look but placing plastic fronts on their teeth. A story in the New York Times on October 21 detailed the fad in A Little Imperfection for That Smile.
It's not like here, where perfect, straight, picket-fence teeth are considered beautiful, said Michelle Phan, a Vietnamese-American based in Los Angeles, who wrote about the phenomenon on her beauty blog, according to The New York Times. In Japan, in fact, crooked teeth are actually endearing, and it shows that a girl is not perfect. And, in a way, men find that more approachable than someone who is too overly perfect.
Phan wrote on her blog earlier this month that, The crooked, fang-like yaeba teeth are said to make girls seem more approachable; the imperfection is considered desirable because it makes a girl appear more endearing and cute.
The trend has become so popular that there is a dental salon in the Ginza district of Tokyo called Plasir Dental Salon where dental procedures are practiced including glueing artificial teeth to real teeth with a special adhesive to create vampire fangs which give them the popular feline look.
Dr. Emilie Zalow, an assistant professor of communication studies at Pace University in Manhattan asid that the trend illustrates a fixation on youth in Japan.
The gapped tooth is sort of preorthodontic or early development, and the naturally occurring yaeba is because of delayed baby teeth, or a mouth that's too small, she told the Times. It's this kind of emphasis on youth and the sexualization of young girls.