Living with crooked teeth not only damages oral health, but can also negatively impact a person’s self esteem. Straight teeth are considered beautiful, and are a sign that a person puts time, effort, and even money into caring for their teeth. People often take measures to hide their crooked smile, including laughing with a hand in front of their face or smiling with their mouth closed. Not American hip-hop artist Jermaine Lamaar Cole, better known by his stage name, J. Cole.
In an interview with On Air with Ryan Seacrest, J. Cole describes himself as having a snaggle-tooth. He recounts how his mother used to say that he needed braces, but she couldn’t afford them. His song “Crooked Smile” (which contains explicit language that many listeners may not find suitable for children or work), released as part of his album Born Sinner in 2013, discusses how his less-than-perfect grin is now a part of who he is; something that he wouldn’t change for the world.
In the beginning of the song, J. Cole discusses how people tell him that he should use the money that he now has from selling records to fix his crooked smile and make it more visually appealing. Tempting, but he prefers to keep his smile the way it is. For him, his smile has become a symbol of authenticity and being true to yourself, and is a reminder that imperfection doesn’t change your importance. The lyrics say “I keep my twisted grill, just to show the kids it’s real; we ain’t picture perfect, but we worth the picture still” to demonstrate this point.
The song continues on to discuss the struggles of women trying to fit in by following difficult, time-consuming, and sometimes painful beauty rituals. Although many cosmetic choices that people make are based on how they feel most comfortable, some people forget that and strive to look how they think other people want them to look. He connects this back to being yourself by saying that fake nails, sculpted eyebrows, and altered hair aren’t what makes a person matter. The truth is, “what’s real is something that the eyes can’t see, that the hands can’t touch…” and nobody else can be: yourself. J. Cole emphasizes that he wants to see the girl’s crooked smile, the part of her that is really her without trying to match social expectations of aesthetics. After all, his own crooked smile didn’t prevent him from being nominated as Best New Artist of the Year in 2011.
As part of his Revenge of the Dreamers album, J. Cole released the original version of “Crooked Smile”. The original starts with the same first verse as the well-known version, talking about how people expect him to change his crooked smile now that he has money, and how women try to conform to difficult beauty standards in order to fit in. This version, however, focuses more on J. Cole’s own history of being an impoverished youth with crooked teeth and how it impacted his life.
The second verse details a rap battle when J. Cole was seventeen. The other rapper was not particularly skilled, but knocked J. Cole off his feet with the line “you ain’t So So Def, your teeth just got Jagged Edges,” essentially telling J. Cole that his skills didn’t matter if his teeth looked bad. J. Cole reminisces in the song that he was reluctant to try approaching other people who looked better than him. As his albums grew in popularity in his adult years, J. Cole found that more and more people expected him to fix his teeth, and he decided that his trademark smile was a symbol for being himself because nobody is perfect.
Even though your crooked smile shouldn’t make you feel ashamed of being yourself, getting your teeth straightened is important for oral health. Crooked teeth can be difficult to clean around and in between, increasing the likelihood of not cleaning away plaque that causes bad breath and tooth decay. Fixing the alignment of your teeth also helps to alleviate tension of the temporomandibular joint (the jaw) that can lead to TMJ. TMJ is a misalignment of the jaw that can lead to painful clicking and popping of the jaw, inability to open the mouth wide, radiating facial pain, migraines, and tinnitus.
The process of realigning teeth is best started in childhood for best results. Children’s bones are still growing, making it easier to correct misaligned teeth through the use of braces. Adults can also have their teeth straightened by braces, but more severe cases may require surgery. For the treatment of mildly crooked or gapped teeth, many adults turn to invisible braces known as Invisalign.
To speak with a cosmetic dentist about whether Invisalign is right for your dental needs, please call 509-368-7788 for an appointment at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics in Spokane.
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