This Celebrity Dentist Has a Really Interesting Theory About Why Everyone Got "Chiclet Teeth" in the '90s
Dr. Jon Marashi gets real about when teeth trends go wrong — and what we can all be doing at home for a beautiful smile.
Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
Whenever you notice a celebrity's standout smile, there's a good chance Dr. Jon Marashi is the cosmetic dentist responsible for their incredible teeth. Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Ben Affleck, Kate Hudson, and Pink are just a few of the Brentwood Calif.-based dentist's loyal A-list patients.
What sets Dr. Marashi apart from the dozens of cosmetic dentists in the LA area (aside from the fact that he's an avid skateboarder) is his precise approach to veneers that have a natural, your-teeth-but-better look. It's why celebs like Cher refer to him as "The Tom Ford of cosmetic dentistry."
However, the red carpet isn't the only place where you'll see Dr. Marashi's work. Last year, he and a few partners launched Byte, an affordable, direct-to-consumer alternative to Invisalign. The dentist-monitored clear aligners are created based off of molds that the customer sends to the company, which means working on your smile without ever setting foot in a dentist's office.
Here, we caught up with Dr. Marashi to talk about why veneers have such a bad reputation, easy ways to get a better smile at home, and the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to oral hygiene.
Tell me about how you got into the field of cosmetic dentristry.
There are only two things I’ve ever wanted to do in my entire life: become a dentist and a professional skateboarder. While they're on polar opposite ends of the spectrum, here I am, almost 46-years-old, and I get to do both on a regular basis.
As I started looking more into what one can do in the field of dentistry, cosmetic dentistry felt like it was what I was put on this planet to do: Help people who want a more beautiful smile get one. The interesting thing about a smile is that it transcends the physicality of it. A smile is very empowering because the owner can choose when, where, why, and how they display it. Just having a beautiful smile creates confidence in people.
You have a ton A-list celebrity clients. How do you go from having a busy practice to becoming a celebrity dentist?
At the end of the day, there’s never a substitute for the results. First and foremost, people are going to seek you out because you provide a high-quality service. So, it took a long time over many years of doing high quality work. Finally, you’ll land someone who’s in entertainment, and then you’ll get the next person and then the next person. Now I’m at the point that I’m so blessed to have earned the trust and loyalty of some of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
Porcelain veneers are your most-requested service. What sets your technique apart?
Cosmetic dentistry really became mainstream in the US around the late ‘90s. If you think about what was happening in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, the economy was booming and a lot of people were doing really well financially. Getting your teeth improved almost became like a status symbol. Somehow, the mentality towards veneers became the bigger and whiter, the better. That’s where all the jokes came about having horse teeth and Chiclets came about. This never sat well with me, so my thoughts towards veneers is that if this smile doesn’t look “natural,” it probably wasn’t done that well.
Aside from my natural aesthetic, my technique is also different. There’s the myth that your teeth get ground down to little nubs and the then the veneers fall off. In reality, this does happen. My technique is based on preserving the tooth, so I either don’t shape it at all, or I do it very slightly. Also, dentistry is all about what you can see. The mouth is a small space to work in and you can’t see everything. That’s why I work with a surgical-grade microscope so that image is large enough to allow for superior precision and quality. There aren't many dentists who use microscopes with this magnification power; they’re expensive and have a steep learning curve.
What are some ways people can improve their smiles at home?
My answer always starts with basic oral hygiene because nothing can substitute brushing and flossing. However, the one problem with dentistry is that it isn't accessible to everyone: It's expensive, and not everyone can leave their workplace to go to an appointment in the middle of the day.
I thought long and hard about what I could do to change this, and launched Byte last August with a couple of partners. It's an at-home alternative to Invisalign that's dentist-monitored, but still affordable. The aligners whiten and straighten your teeth at the same time to optimize the appearance of your smile. All of this can be done for $1,900, and there are financing options, too. It's important because while I’m on one side of the spectrum taking care of the rich and the famous, there are still people out there who need affordable, quality solutions.
VIDEO: How to Whiten Your Teeth at Home
What are some of the biggest oral hygiene mistakes people make and how can they fix them?
There’s a running joke that dentists will ask a patient the last time they flossed, and they’ll respond saying that it was at their last appointment. It’s not a sexy answer, but you have to put in the work by brushing and flossing daily. The second thing is technique because there’s a proper way to brush and floss. It’s not something you need to be a yoga expert to be able to do. The efficiency isn’t going to be there if you go too fast, too hard, or skip over spots.Thirdly, it’s important to get professional teeth cleanings with a dental hygienist. As good as one can be at brushing and flossing, there are still nooks, crannies, and crevices where you’re going to get buildup of tarter and plaque that needs to be professionally removed.