Woman Showing Off Her SmileElements of a Beautiful Smile

What can dentistry do for your self-esteem that all the pots of cream and eyeliner on Madison Avenue can’t? While we agree with the ad men that esthetics motivate how people see us, value us, and respond to us, true natural beauty has to do with good health, not technique with a make-up brush. When you admire the dazzling smile of that Revlon model, will you buy the lipstick—or seek the quality dentistry that perfected the smile? Dentistry thee smile to health and symmetry. Cosmetics? Sure. But call on dentistry for a beautiful smile that won’t wash off.

  • Vertical dimension is a key element in any smile. It is the height between two points—one on the upper jaw, one on the lower—when the bite is closed. When vertical dimension is askew, facial features can appear “collapsed.” A good denture maintains esthetic vertical dimension, likewise muscle tone and youthful looks.
  • Sex a factor in dentistry? So-called masculine front teeth are boxier, more prominent, with “bold” cuspids, slightly rotated. A “feminine” smile has more delicate, rounder teeth, and open incisal embrasures—spaces between the curved surfaces of adjoining teeth. This norm is changing, though. Women are seeking a “sportier” look.
  • The “smile line” is used by some believers as a guide to dental harmony. The theory goes that the curve of the bottom lip should reflect the curve of the upper front teeth. Whether your six front teeth are natural, or part of a denture or bridgework, dentistry can help bring out the best in your smile line.
  • Early orthodontic evaluation assures healthy growth into a sound, balanced bite. The position of the jaw will determine profile. For jaw abnormalities, orthognathic surgery brings nothing short of miraculous results.
  • Wear. As we age, our front teeth naturally wear down to an even line. Rounding edges with bonding or veneers will achieve a younger aspect.
  • Beautiful gums are intrinsic to a beautiful smile. Coral in color, firm—healthy gums are, well, sexy.
  • Euclid’s concept of “golden proportion” has followers in dentistry. The rule holds that the most esthetically pleasing smile has certain proportions. Each tooth in this “perfect” smile is about 60% the size of the tooth just in front of it.
  • Young teeth have more texture—stippling, concavity—than older teeth worn smooth with age.
  • Light. The way teeth reflect light is another factor in pleasing the eye. Crowns, bridgework and dentures can be tinted to capture and reflect light just like natural teeth. Michelangelo, move over.
  • A low lipline—one that hides tooth and gum in a grin—can be compensated for by veneering. The front teeth are lengthened to regain “ideal” form.