The term “smile design” is a term the dental profession has adopted recently to describe the modern approach to cosmetic dentistry. The term is an apt one, because today’s cosmetic dentistry goes well beyond the basic training given in dental school.
Good “smile design” requires extensive training and knowledge in several distinct areas:
- Principles of design regarding the “architecture” of the teeth,
- Usage of dental “white materials”(composites, porcelains, bonding agents, tints, and opaquers), which are the building blocks and colorants of the dental architecture, and
- Understanding of facial and oral musculature.
In addition to special training, a good cosmetic dentist needs experience in implementing his or her training in a way that will create healthy and beautiful smiles.
In cosmetic dentistry, one size definitely does not fit all. What is considered appropriate and attractive can differ according to personal preference, cultural differences, and facial structure. Artistic principles of “smile design” determine what shape, size, and color teeth will harmonize most naturally with a person’s own face, gender, age, and personality.
How a Person’s Smile Can Reveal His Age
If you compare the smile of a sixteen-year-old to that of a sixty-year-old, you will notice that not only are all the sixteen-year-old’s teeth lighter in color, but also that his top two front teeth (the central incisors) exhibit some significant differences in shape:
- Younger teeth are longer than they are wide (more rectangular than square),
- Younger teeth are longer than the teeth on either side of them (the lateral incisors), and
- Younger teeth have irregular bottom edges and rounded corners (rather than sharp).
The reason a person’s smile changes as he ages is that, with time and use, the central incisors wear down to the length of the other top teeth; their shape becomes squarer, their edges flatter, their corners sharper. Also, with age, the muscles of the upper lip lose elasticity, which means that an older person’s smile shows less of his upper teeth and more of his lower teeth.
A good cosmetic dentist must consider all these factors when applying the principles of smile design, because a well-designed smile must harmonize with your face in a way that is age appropriate and natural, and it must position your teeth in a way that will provide proper lip support.
You can see that good smile design is far more than just a dental improvement—it gives your whole face an instant “lift” and shaves years off your age.
Aren’t you worth it?
Our next post will discuss how gender and personality factors also play an important role in “smile design.”
SmilePlus Dentistry provides a “smile design” consultation to help you discover your most natural and beautiful smile. Please contact our office for more information or to schedule an evaluation.