The Anatomy of a Beautiful Smile

There are multiple attributes that come together to complete the anatomy of a great-looking smile. For most people, a well-proportioned, white smile is considered very desirable and attractive. Here are some of the components that collectively make up the anatomy of a beautiful smile:

The Proportion of Your Upper Incisors

Your upper incisors (front four teeth) are the stars of the show!  Because of the position, they are very easy to seen and most noticeable.  Each tooth has a range of sizes and ratios of height x width that people find attractive.  There is also a relationship of how much of a tooth is shown when smiling.  This goes back to Pythagoras and his concept that beauty is an exact mathematical calculation or relationship! He referred to this relationship as the Golden Proportion.

As people age, the upper lip lengthens and a smaller amount of the upper front teeth are shown when smiling.   Thus, displaying all of the front teeth is a very vibrant and youthful smile!  As we are designing your smile, we look at you teeth and smile and enhance the positive attributes of your smile to maximize the youthfulness and beauty of your smile!

The Amount of Visible Gum Tissue

While having some gums showing when smiling is usually seen as a desirable and youthful part of a smile, excess, swollen or discolored gum tissue can be distracting and less desirable.   Depending on the cause and amount, the options to correct the gum tissue can be very easy and quick.  The gum display of a smile is a little like Goldilocks.  You don’t want too much or too little, but want it just right!.

The Arc of Your Smile

The arc of your smile is the way that the line formed by the lower edge of your top teeth correlates with the line formed by the top edge of your lower lip. The perfect smile arc includes a dental curve and a lip curve that are basically parallel to one another.

When we are looking at your smile and smile design, we also look at the anatomy of your lip and how your lip moves and changes when you talk and smile!  This allows us to achieve a beautiful and natural looking smile!

Negative Smile Space

When you smile, there’s usually a little black space that can be seen at each corner of your mouth. Although negative spaces should be displayed in every smile, if the space is too large or too small, it can detract from the appearance of the smile.

The Wideness of a Smile

Broader or wider smiles are often seen as more attractive. The broadness of your smile is the width of the displayed upper arch of your teeth.  People who have a narrow arch of teeth may only display a few of them when they smile and often their smile will look like “buck teeth.”

Ideally, the upper premolars should be visible when you smile and you upper arch should have a gentile curve. If your smile is not as broad as desired, in some cases, the jaw can be expanded using orthodontic appliances to create a wider smile.

Teeth Color

The color of your teeth is also important when it comes to the anatomy of a beautiful smile. Teeth that appear stained are deemed less attractive than those that are white and bright. Thus, even if your dental alignment is being corrected to improve the look of your smile, it is important to care for your teeth properly throughout and after the treatment process to prevent discoloration.  Depending on the cause of the discoloration, bleaching or various dental restorations can correct the concern.

The Emergence Profile of a Tooth

The emergence profile is the way that a tooth extends or emerges from the gum tissue when the tooth is observed from a side view. If the emergence profile does not allow a tooth to offer enough support to the cheeks and lips, the fullness of a person’s smile can be compromised. This can result in a worn, caved-in facial appearance.  If the upper teeth or jaw are too far forward, the teeth can look too protrusive and can also be undesirable .  We desire to obtain good lip support and a balanced profile smile!

There are a lot of components that go into making a beautiful smile and at Strickland Orthodontics, we enjoy looking at every patient’s smile and designing and developing their perfect smile!  If you have any concerns with you smile and what can be done to improve it, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.