The Basics Of Smile Design

When we think of the perfect smile, we think of two factors: straight teeth and white teeth, but there is more to it than that. Are your teeth too small or too large? Is there too much gum tissue showing, or maybe you’re experiencing gingival recession (receding gums)? There are several factors involved in smile design. If you are considering redesigning your smile, contact Dr. Fondriest. He will be happy to explain the principles of smile design and discuss your treatment options.

Principles Of Smile Design

The Golden Proportion: The golden proportion was discovered by the ancient Greeks and is found in architecture, art, and music. It is the way the human eye perceives beauty, and is used in cosmetic dentistry to create an aesthetically pleasing smile. The golden proportion is based on mathematical ratios determined as ideal through years of research. Because an aesthetic smile is also a healthy smile, smile design has become increasingly popular over the years. Smile design begins with the creation of a smile that complements the patients face. Each smile makeover is unique to the patient. Dentists take into consideration three things: the face, the smile, and the teeth.

Facial Analysis: Studies have shown that people with symmetrical faces and smiles are considered more attractive. To this end, the face is analyzed from the front and side to determine the facial midline and evaluate symmetry.

Smile Analysis: The smile analysis includes an evaluation of the lips, teeth, and gums. Each tooth is compared to the others, and then to the smile as a whole.

  • Dental Midline: The midline is an imaginary vertical line drawn down the center of the face. This line should fall between the two maxillary central incisors, or your upper two front teeth.
  • Smile Line: The smile line should follow the upper edge of the bottom lip when smiling. The edges of the top teeth should touch the bottom lip, following the curve of the lip, also referred to as the smile line.
  • Gingival Shape and Contour: Gingival (gum) tissue should not overshadow the smile. Three millimeters or less of gingival tissue should show while smiling. The gingival tissue should be even and shaped as a half-oval above the upper laterals (the teeth located between the upper front teeth and the eye teeth, or canines), and shaped as an oval over the two front teeth, and the canines (commonly referred to as the eye teeth, or “vampire teeth”).
  • Straight, White Teeth: Straight teeth are aligned teeth with no crowding, overlapping, or gaps. White teeth are bright and uniform in color. Straight, white teeth are the most attractive, but size and shape are equally important.
    • Central Incisors (top two front teeth): The width to height ratio of the top central incisors should be 75-80%. The top two front teeth should be shaped like a rectangle and should be longer than they are wide.
    • Length: The bottom edges of the canines should be at the same horizontal level as the central incisors. The lateral incisors should be slightly shorter.
    • Inclination: The top front teeth should incline, or slightly tilt, toward the dental midline, with the two teeth on either side of the maxillary central incisors following suit.

Smile design affects both the physical and the psychological. It is a chance to fulfill your dreams, expectations, and desires regarding one of your most important assets–your smile. An attractive smile can increase your self-confidence and your chances for success. If you are considering a smile make-over, you and Dr. Fondriest will collaborate as a team, discussing the process from beginning to end, as well as the desired outcome, before any decisions are made. Preplanning is an important step to achieve the smile you desire.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

If you are interested in learning more about smile design, contact your Lake Forest dentist, Dr. Fondriest. Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is a former adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve the Chicago metropolitan area including the North Shore and Northwest suburbs. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.