Writing for Oprah Magazine, Peggy Orenstein describes her experience with bonding her "gappy teeth," and how surprised she felt when she realized that her smile seemed more "authentic" once she removed the bond and allowed her gap to show.
"Honestly? I thought I'd go for the bonding. I assumed I'd look better with normal teeth, and $1,400 wasn't such an astronomical sum to pay for that privilege," Orenstein writes, "It turns out, though, that my teeth are a trademark, one of those necessary imperfections that makes a person unique. And I'm content with that." Madonna and Lauren Hutton, two women with famous gaps in their smiles, would apparently agree.
It's not surprising, however, that Orenstein considered fixing the gap in her smile: the technology is there, and she considered it an affordable option, and in a world where the drive to look practically perfect in every way extends beyond just Mary Poppins, it's not shocking that anyone would consider "fixing" a perceived flaw. But in reality, the quest for a perfect appearance often leaves people with a generic look, one that is noticeably artificial and fairly ordinary when compared to how they looked beforehand. Actress Jennifer Grey is perhaps the best Hollywood example: her career tanked after she dramatically changed her appearance by getting a nose job, something she says she regrets deeply: "I went in the operating theatre a celebrity - and came out anonymous," Grey has been quoted as saying, "I'll always be this once-famous actress nobody recognizes... because of a nose job."
Of course, for many people, the opportunity to correct a perceived flaw is a welcome one, and the results come with a renewed sense of confidence and self-esteem. I suppose it all depends on how you view your imperfections: for some, they truly are flaws in need of repair, while for others, like Orenstein, gaps, birthmarks, and scars aren't imperfections at all, but rather a piece of oneself to celebrate and be proud of, things that shouldn't be hidden or fixed, but should be held up as unique and beautiful in their own way.