What makes a smile perfect?

Take a moment and consider this question: What is a perfect smile?

Most people will envision the quintessential Hollywood smile we’ve all grown to love. Successful celebrities and A-listers all seem to have a brilliantly white smile, perfectly shaped teeth, and an attractive balance between teeth and gums.

Different countries have different views on smile aesthetics, but it’s clear that in the United States, we value the appearance of a great smile. Cosmetic dentistry is in high demand, and studies even support the idea that people tend to attribute positive characteristics, like successfulness and trustworthiness, to a confident smile.

Is it the perfect smile for you?

However, the Hollywood smile isn’t really the perfect smile for everyone. Even if you copy a celebrity’s exact smile-makeover treatments, there’s no guarantee your smile will look like theirs or that you’ll like the results.

Great cosmetic dentists know every person has variances in their smile anatomy that they must consider to achieve the most beautiful smile makeover. These dentists will follow certain smile design principles to create a new smile that complements their patient’s natural features, giving them a smile that looks like theirs, only better.

Here are five things a cosmetic dentist will consider in your smile design.

1. Natural Lip Shape and Smile Line

The lips are the frame of your smile, so an experienced cosmetic dentist will carefully evaluate your natural lip shape, smile line, and the appearance of your teeth and lips when smiling and talking.

When smiling, the upper front teeth will take up roughly three-fourths or more of the space between your lips. The upper teeth should run parallel to the lower lip, and the bottom of your lower lip should match the gum line of your lower jaw.

Within your natural smile line limits, your dentist will be able to change the curve and length of your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

2. Tooth Visibility

Your teeth’s shape, size, and color take the spotlight when smiling, making them the focus of a smile makeover.

Most people want their teeth to be bright white, evenly colored (no stains), and straight with minimal gaps between them. A skilled cosmetic dentist will customize the color of your smile to best match your skin tone and facial features.

The two front upper teeth should be aligned with the facial midline and have a 75% to 80% width-to-length ratio. Adjusting the length of the central teeth can give your face a slimmer appearance as well.

3. Gums and Gingival Contour

The balance between teeth and gums can completely change the appearance of your smile. Too much visible gum tissue (i.e., a gummy smile) is much more common than too little.

A balanced smile will have 3 mm or less of gum tissue above your upper teeth. The shape of the gums on the teeth should also have a gentle half-oval curve. The length of the teeth should also complement the gums, meaning very short teeth can make gums seem excessive even within the 3-mm-or-less range.

4. Buccal Corridor

The buccal corridor is something you probably haven’t heard of but have noticed in your smile and others’.

The buccal corridor is the dark space between the teeth and the corners of the smile. A wide smile has a small buccal corridor, while a narrow smile has a larger buccal corridor. Studies have shown that people typically view a smile with small buccal corridors to be more attractive as they look brighter, fuller, and more youthful.

5. Incisal Edge Position

Your incisal edge position is where your top two front teeth end in relation to your bottom lip when you smile. Because the incisal edge is so prominent, dentists focus first on these teeth and then work outward.

Aside from its significant impact on the aesthetics of your smile, the incisal edge position also impacts your speech. If it is too long, it can be difficult to pronounce words beginning with F, TH, and V.

Your personal preferences matter.

Smile design follows a standard blueprint for achieving the attributes of a balanced, beautiful smile, but your personal desires are always the primary focus.

If you adore the gap between your teeth, find your gummy smile charming, or love having a bold, toothy grin, there’s no reason to change these features if you don’t want to.

Be open with your cosmetic dentist about what you do and don’t want to be changed; a great dentist will eagerly work within these boundaries. They’ll even give you additional insight into options for enhancing the key feature of the smile you love.

Book your smile-design consultation with Dr. Harrison.

Cosmetic dentistry offers a dizzying number of possibilities for enhancing your smile. Dr. Harrison, a cosmetic dentist in Plano, Texas, can help you understand your unique smile anatomy and which options will best achieve a smile makeover that will leave you beaming with pride.

Schedule your evaluation today by calling Millennium Dental or requesting a visit online.