In my last post “Is having nice straight teeth that important” I explored the idea of whether having an imperfect smile could get in the way of success. Today I want to explore the idea of what it means to have a perfect smile. This subject is very complex but I will try to simplify it out.

First of all a “perfect smile” is very subjective, as in one person may look at your smile and deem it to be perfect, whereas another person may not.

However if we were to look at it more objectively, a perfect smile would be based around the principles of smile design. In short, a smile design or creating an aesthetic smile is to develop:

  • A peaceful and stable masticatory system, where teeth, muscles, tissue, and joints all function in harmony.
  • Tooth morphology harmonising with facial morphology

With regards to a cosmetic dentist, we usually deal with the dental composition, balancing it with facial morphology. In essence we take into account how the teeth relate to the soft tissue.

The main factors that we consider are:

Tooth composition

  • Dental midline. Is the line between the 2 upper incisor teeth parallel to that of the nose and face.
  • Incisal lengths. How much tooth is displayed when your mouth is relaxed or smiling. This will also affect how well you can pronounce words.
  • Tooth dimensions. Correct dental proportions is related to facial morphology and is essential to creating an aesthetically pleasing smile. I.e if teeth are too big/small, long/short, wide/narrow and not in correct proportions with each other, asymmetries appear, and thus creating an unaesthetic smile.
  • Inclinations of teeth. Are teeth rotated, or displaced outwards, inwards.
  • Incisal embrasures. How rounded are your teeth at the corners?
  • Is there symmetry and balance

Soft tissue component

  • Gingival health. The gums act as a frame for your teeth. They should look pink, stippled and firm.
  • Gingival level and harmony. Establishing correct gum height for each individual tooth is a key to creating a harmonious smile.
  • Interdental embrasures. Can we see gaps between the teeth and do the teeth look like they appear from out of the gum naturally.
  • Smile line. This is an imaginary line whereby the incises edges of the top front teeth mimic the curvature of the superior border of the lower lip when smiling.

As you can see, there is much to consider when creating the ideal or perfect smile. Most importantly we need to ensure that when we observe somebody from the facial profile, there is balance and harmony between teeth and face and that there is harmony within teeth and gums and lips.

Dr Michael Leong

Dr Michael Leong is a Cosmetic Dentist in Carseldine, QLD. He is the owner and principle dentist at Just Dental Care.

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