What is the Zoom Effect? 

A recent study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Inc. found demand for cosmetic procedures has significantly increased in recent months potentially as a result of a new phenomenon called Zoom Dysmorphia. Recently, given the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been spending record amounts of time on virtual platforms such as Zoom, both for work and socializing. The increase in the amount of time spent on such platforms has been attributed to lowered self-esteem.

In 2018, the term “Snapchat Dysmorphia” was created as a result of people taking more photos of themselves and disliking their appearance in such photos. In 2019, 72 percent of American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery members reported treating patients who were interested in cosmetic procedures aimed at improving their selfies, according to the study. Similar to Snapchat Dysmorphia, Zoom Dysmorphia is attributed to increased amounts of time spent looking at oneself while on Zoom. The Washington Post recently reported that plastic surgeons say business is up partially due to the fact that clients don’t like their appearance on zoom. 

It’s been known that high levels of social media engagement have correlated with body dissatisfaction, and authors in the study find Zoom to be a heightened version of such. They also made note of an increase in patients stating their appearance on Zoom for a reason to seek care and linked the trend to individuals becoming increasingly aware of their outward appearance as a result. 

“Unlike the still and filtered selfies of social media, Zoom displays an unedited version of oneself in motion, a self-depiction very few people are used to seeing on a daily basis,” according to the study. “This may have drastic effects on body dissatisfaction and desire to seek cosmetic procedures.” 

Many either forget to consider or don’t realize that because computer cameras, such as the ones used for Zoom, record at shorter lengths, they tend to portray a rounder face, wider eyes and a larger nose. Thus, it’s incredibly important for individuals to recognize the limitations that webcams present and understand that they are a flawed representation. Some users also find themselves preoccupied with looking at themselves in Zoom rather than at others. An increased time spent on camera, comparison of oneself and slightly distorted images on Zoom can leave some users feeling uneasy at best. 

Zoom Dysmorphia becomes a concern when people become extremely preoccupied with either real or imagined imperfections of themselves. A life that is disproportionately spent on Zoom looking at themselves in the frame may prompt a self-critical comparative response for some users. Along with added time on Zoom, people are also spending more time at home, looking in the mirror and on social media which are all factors that have proven to increase body image anxieties in many. 

How does the zoom effect relate to your smile? 

You may view your smile against others when greeting, acknowledging or laughing with people in a Zoom meeting in a way that you wouldn’t do in a non-virtual, or in-person, meeting. Most notably, you may watch yourself speak in a way that you normally would not. When making various expressions on Zoom, you can also see your smile and teeth from a different perspective, revealing imperfections. In contrast, a still photograph or simply looking in the mirror at your smile may not show imperfections in the same way that seeing yourself actively talk or engage with others could present. 

Because seeing yourself talk is not an entirely natural process and experience, it can lead you to see your smile how others may see it. While everyone may have things they wish to change about their smile, ample time on Zoom can bring those self-viewed imperfections to a higher priority. 

How can Rhoades Family Dentistry help you with your smile?

We believe that all of our patients should have the ability to feel confident in their smiles. We offer extensive dental cosmetic services to our clients aimed at helping them achieve the smile they want. Some of these cosmetic dental treatments include veneers and cosmetic enhancements, whitening and botox or dermal fillers to complete the smile area. In addition to our cosmetic dental services, we also provide orthodontic services to improve the smile such as braces and Invisalign. We want to ensure your comfort when interacting with individuals, whether that’s on Zoom or in-person. Although Zoom may heighten your attentiveness to your smile, we’re always here to provide you with excellent cosmetic dentistry services regardless of what brings you into our Olathe family dentist office. 

If you’re interested in learning more about our cosmetic dental services, please contact your Olathe family dentist today. We offer flexible payment options and want to make sure your ideal smile is a possibility. Feel free to give us a call at 913-782-8900 to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our highly experienced dentists.