The Perfect Smile
The importance of a beautiful smile cannot be underrated. In a society which is increasingly focused on the outer appearance of perfection, a person’s smile has a significant impact on both how they feel about themselves and how others respond to them. Not only is a smile a measure of beauty (and therefore desirability) but is also indicative of one’s ability to express a range of emotions and relate to others. A great smile portrays confidence and inspires trust. The importance attributed to a beautiful smile is not new, but it is only recently achievable due to modern dental practices and a plethora of research which establishes what it is about a smile that makes it appealing.
Elements of an Appealing Smile
There are numerous models and formulae that can be used to define and construct the perfect dental smile, and to ensure that this smile is in harmony within the context of the face. It is equally important but often more difficult, to apply these principles with an aesthetic eye.
Natural tooth colour ranges from yellow to grey, although the ideal colour, that most people are born with, is ivory. Age and staining from tea, coffee and wine causes teeth to darken so we associate whiter teeth with youth. Whitening teeth is probably the simplest way to look younger and fresher.
The most attractive smile will display teeth all the way to the corners of the mouth, rather than having a dark corridor between the teeth and the cheek. These dark areas are a result of the upper arch being too narrow. Widening the smile can be achieved with orthodontic work.
Straight Teeth / No Gaps
Straight teeth that are in nice alignment can be achieved with the use of dental appliances, braces or invisible aligners. It is also important that the teeth are just touching each other. Gaps because of a tooth being lost (or never growing in) can be remedied with the use of a bridge or dental implant. Gaps can also occur if the teeth are small in relation to the mouth. In that case veneers and crowns can be used to idealise the size of the teeth.
Symmetry is essential to beauty, and your smile is no different. To establish an attractive appearance, your smile should have the same midline as your face. The smile midline is between the two central incisors, and if it is moved off to one side or the other, it can make your smile look unattractive. Orthodontics can be used to correct a midline that is off centre.
The Right Shape
Tooth shape varies amongst individuals and ethnic groups. When it comes to tooth shape the most important considerations are that the teeth are in correct proportion to each other, that they are symmetrical and that they are a natural fit to the face. Sometimes a very slight filing of the teeth (Interproximal Reduction or IPR) is all that is necessary enable them to fit together better, to reduce ‘black triangles’, or to improve an unusual shape. As it is common for teeth to wear as we age, restoring the length of the teeth with the use of veneers can make us look younger.
An appealing smile curves gently upwards, with the edge of the teeth following the line of the lower lip. Teeth which are level or curve downwards appear older and less attractive.
All of the upper tooth length and the edge of the gumline should be on display while smiling. As the upper lip tends to lengthen with age, and teeth tend to wear, the more tooth on display, the younger the smile appears. Healthy pink gums also help to highlight the teeth. But only the edge should be on display or the smile may come across as too gummy! Both the health and the shape of the gums can be addressed at Dental Artistry and we also can reduce the appearance of a gummy smile.
Come in for a consultation with Dr Heidi Sauer and find out what she can do to give you a beautiful smile!