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Smile design principles for patients from


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A primer on smile design principles for people without a dental background. …

A primer on smile design principles for people without a dental background.
These are a compilation of the most important factors that determine whether your teeth and smile look pretty or not so pretty.
It should be useful for persons considering cosmetic dental work.

Published in: Health & Medicine, Education
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  • 2. Smile Design Principles I created this document in an effort to educate my patients about this factors that affect the beauty level of the teeth in the smile area and therefore the smile itself. Most individuals can recognize a great smile when they see one, but may not know the details or reasons why that smile looks great. These “smile design principles” can help you evaluate your teeth and smile, and may help you communicate with your dentist about any concerns you may have about your smile. The following is a brief summary of a few of the most important of these principles.
  • 3. Central Dominance The central incisors are the two front teeth in the middle. They are the biggest and widest teeth and are the most noticeable when you smile, so if the dentist does a good job designing the shape, size and other characteristics of these two teeth, the rest of the teeth are easier to design. An example of why this becomes important is seen in the case where the patient has big centrals and a large gap between the teeth. The patient wants to close the gap with veneers or crowns.
  • 4. Central Dominance Some dentists will do as the patient asks, but that will result in the two front teeth looking very big and not very esthetic.
  • 5. Central Dominance A more esthetic result would be achieved by closing the space with orthodontics and crowns in just a few months and keeping the teeth a normal and more pleasing size.
  • 6. Golden Proportions This is a principle that has its origins in ancient times. One of the most well known examples is the picture called “The Vitruvian Man” which shows how the ideal human proportions relate to geometric measurements..
  • 7. Golden Proportions The same principles apply to the size and shape of the teeth in the smile with the ideal size of the centrals, laterals and canines appearing to have a golden proportion of 1.6 to 1 to .6 and the central to have a length to width ratio of 10 to 7
  • 8. Symmetry Symmetry is an important concept to follow as we compare the right and left sides of the face and smile. You could not have a beautiful smile if your teeth looked different on the left than they look on the right. Here the right central looks different.
  • 9. Symmetry Something as simple as the appearance of one central next to the other (Central Dominance and Symmetry) can detract or enhance the appearance of the smile. After the right central is fixed, the smile looks much better.
  • 10. Axial inclination The teeth need to show a slight inclination towards the back as they go back in the arch as illustrated by the lines in this picture.
  • 11. Smile line The Smile line is an imaginary line created by the incisal edges of the teeth when a person smiles. An ideal smile line should follow the curve of the top of the lower lip and makes the smile very pleasing
  • 12. Gingival Display The amount of gingival tissue that shows when you smile is called gingival display, and if the gingival display is excessive, this can result in a smile that is less pleasing very often called a gummy smile
  • 13. Gingival Line  TheGingival Line is an imaginary line created by the teeth where they touch the gums. This line should be even, with the level of the centrals and canines slightly higher than the laterals. When the gingival line is uneven, it results in an unaesthetic smile.
  • 14. Tooth Shape Tooth shape also influences the beauty of a smile. Teeth can be square, tapered, ovoid, peg shaped, etc… Choosing a shape that compliments the shape of the face, the gender (male or female) and age of the patient should be factors in designing the smile.
  • 15. Interproximal Contacts If the contact between the teeth is too close to the edge, the teeth will look very tapered and there will be dark areas in between the teeth that the gums cannot fill. Making the contact too low can cause the teeth to look square.
  • 16. Smile Width Smile width is the ability of the teeth be seen from corner to corner of the smile. When the arches are narrow, a dark area called the buccal corridors is seen in the corners of the smile that detracts from the smile.
  • 17. Shade Teeth that are very dark in shade, or that have different shades in the smile area attract attention to the fact that there is a difference in color among the teeth and do not allow a smile to look pleasing
  • 18. Smile Design Principles There are other guidelines that we can use to design a beautiful smile, but I have mentioned the most important ones. If this document helps you achieve a nice result that you will be happy with in the process of obtaining cosmetic dental work, then I have achieved my goal. If you have any questions about smile design or any other dental concerns, you can always reach me by calling my office. Carlos Boudet, DDS DICOI Website: Phone: (561) 968 6022