The Japanese trend for crooked, “snaggle” teeth is going from strength to strength.
Yaeba – which translates literally as “double tooth” is a dental procedure which sees the upper canines capped either permanently or temporarily, costing between between £130 - £340 for each tooth.
What’s more, the trend inspired the formation of the world’s first snaggle-tooth girl band – the gym-slip clad trio TYB48.
Now one Tokyo clinic is offering half price discounts for middle and high school students.
Taro Masuoka is the brains behind TYB48 as well as the clinic director of Pure Cure in Roppongi.
He told Excite: “Yaeba gives girls an impish cuteness.
“It’s a sense of beauty unique to the Japanese, but yaeba can be an attractive feature on women in their teens and twenties.”
Of the creation of TYB48, Masuoka explains: “A lot of my patients are fashion-conscious and very cute. I wanted to find some way to take advantage of this, so I formed [the band].”
Rival dental Plasir, which is based in Tokyo’s Ginza district, has released an infomercial, which as Japan Today points out, allows you to “see what the process of paying someone to wreck your teeth is like.”
While the trend is certainly a departure from the Western ideal of ruler straight gnashers, concerns were expressed that the procedure demonstrates “the sexualisation of young girls”.
Dr Emilie Zaslow, an assistant professor of communications at Pace University told The New York Times: “The gapped tooth is sort of pre-orthodontic or early development.
“The naturally occurring yaeba is because of delayed baby teeth or a mouth that’s too small.”
However, Dr Brooke Magnanti (she of Belle du Jour fame) disagrees with this interpretation, insisting there is no biological connetion between yaeba-type teeth and childhood.
“Crooked teeth, and in particular the prominent canines associated with yaeba, are almost certainly a signal of being post-puberty. After all you must have most or all of your adult teeth in for them to be so crowded. The last deciduous tooth is lost about age 11 or 12, the second molars come in around ages 14-16, and the third molars - your wisdom teeth - rather later, at about the mid 20s. For some people this timeline is even longer: at 36, my third molars are only now starting to erupt, which is making my teeth even more crowded than before. These changes cause the teeth already in your mouth to shift position, and is the reason we don't put braces on little kids.”
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