Cosmetic Dentistry: Anatomy of a Smile
Women have known for years that different changes to their hair, makeup, or clothes can give them a whole new look. Makeup has been used for centuries by women trying to highlight and define their individual facial features. While these techniques have long been known….Did you know that changing your teeth can give you similar results? Some of us are born with teeth that complemnts our facial features. But not all of us are so lucky. A bright, white, beautiful smile creates a first impression that poeple are sure to take note of. Without a spoken word, your smile can give off a confident, optimistic and friendly personality.
An esthetically pleasing smile is an attractive quality that brings people to you, making them respond in a positive way towards you. Physical characteristics aside, a winning smile can also have a major mental and emotional influence on you. People who are self conscious about their smiles tend to appear timid, hesitant, withdrawn or even angry. You may not feel as attractive as you can be. Modern advances in cosmetic dentistry has allowed a growing number of people to benefit from smile makeovers. Cosmetic dentistry smile makeovers are capable of transforming a person’s smile to produce dramatic life changing results. A cosmetic dentist will examine your smile and make notes of the changes that need to be made.
Smile Design Principles or Smile Design for Cosmetic Dentistry
A smile design influences the overall cosmetic impact of an person’s smile. Smile design can be divided into four separate components:
- -Facial Esthetics. A person’s facial esthetics varies greatly from patient to patient. A cosmetic dentist can evaluate this using a visual examination and the use of photography. Facial Esthetics will include not only the teeth but also the bone structure of the face and the musculature. It will also inlcude the way your lips frame your smile when you speak, smile, or laugh.
- -Gingival (Gum) Tissue Esthetics. A smile with diseased gum tissue will never bo one that is considered attractive. Healthy gum tissue is an essential element in smile design. Common cosmetic dentistry complaints include a gummy smile, uneven gum tissue, and exposed root surfaces from recession. All of these things take away from a person’s smile appeal.
- -Microesthetics. This component deals with the subtle attributes that make your teeth appear the way they do. This includes how they reflect light, any unique marks or colorations. This technique is applied when restoring a tooth from decay. Cosmetic dentistry will restore the tooth to give it qualities closely resembling the natural tooth. The anatomy and coloration of natural teeth is a unique quality that varies from patient to patient.
- -Macroesthetics. This area allows the cosmetic dentist to analyze the relationship and proportions between a patient’s front teeth, surrounding tissues, and facial characteristics. Analyzing these characteristic will ensure the final result will be natural and attractive for the patient. Working together, your cosmetic dentist and dental laboratory technician combine their technical and artistic abilities to create a natural and esthetically pleasing appearance in which the shapes, sizes and arrangement of individual teeth blend with and complement your particular features.
Anatomy of a Smile in Cosmetic Dentistry
The following are the important anatomical structures or landmarks used in cosmetic dentistry:
- –Lips. In cosmetic dentistry the lips are usually compared to a picture frame. The lips frame your smile, teeth, and gums. Lip enhancements correcting shape, fullness, and symmetry of your lips can make your smile seem broader and fuller. For optimal cosmetic effect, your facial features should line up to your teeth and lip lines. When your lips form a broad smile, an imaginary line can be drawn through the corners of the mouth, from one side to the other. The amount of upper front (maxillary anterior) tooth revealed below this line helps create a vibrant, youthful image. In a youthful smile, the upper front teeth should fill between75-100% of the space between your upper and lower lips in a full smile.
- –Midline. The facial midline is an important landmark in cosmetic dentistry. It is an imaginary vertical line drawn between the front two upper teeth. For optimum esthetics the facial midline should line up with the middle of the face. Sometimes facial features can throw the midline off. These include the eyes, nose, and chin. A portion of the population has uneven eye levels or a nose that is slightly off center. If not taken into account this will throw the whole analysis off. Cosmetic Dentistry uses a more accurate landmark on the face. The point between the eyebrows and the cupid’s bow in the center of the upper lip is used. By using these two landmarks, cosmetic dentists can draw and locate the facial midline wile also determining its direction. Whenever possible, the midline between the upper front teeth (central incisors) should coincide with the facial midline. In cases where this is not possible, the midline between the central incisors should be perpendicular to the imaginary line that could be drawn through the corners of the mouth.
- –Smile Line. Your smile line is the line created by the top of your lower lip. In an ideal smile line, the edges of your upper teeth should be parallel to your lower lip when you smile. The bottom of your lower lip should have the same line as the gums of your lower jaw. This should always be a standard, regardless of the size or shape of your smile. Once your cosmetic dentist has determined the orientation of your smile line, they can design its curve, or shape, and determine the length of your new restorations for your smile makeover.
- –Teeth. Smiles that tend to be considered attractive usually hve a few things in common. These features include white teeth, teeth that are unstained, and evenly spaced with no crowding. Upon smiling, your top teeth show fully in a good proportion to your gums. The line where the gums and teeth meet is smooth and even. The smile line of the upper teeth follows the curve of the lower lip. The midline of the upper front teeth ideally is in the center of the face. Tooth reveal is a term that describes the amount of tooth structure that shows during smiling and various angles of your face.
Cosmetic Dentististry Variations
The impact of a smile cannot be judged just by the individual beauty of teeth and gums. Each and every patient has their own unique qualities, quirks, and traits. These include age, sex, personality traits, as well as cosmetic dentistry expectations. When considering person’s ideal smile, the cosmetic dentist will always consider an individuals personal traits. These include facial features, skin tones, hair color, as well as how your teethare framed by your overall appearance.
Occlusal and functional considerations will also play a role in the final treatment. Macroesthetic concepts provide only guidelines and reference points for beginning esthetic evaluation, planning and treatment. The artistic component can be applied and perfected in cosmetic dentistry by dentists who understand the rules, tools and strategies of smile design. In modern cosmetic dentistry there are tools such as digital imaging, lasers, teeth whitening procedures that allow a skilled cosmetic dentist to create smile makeovers.
The cosmetic dentistry procedures range from teeth whitening to dental bonding to porcelain veneers, crowns, and dental implants. Cosmetic dentists also have at their disposal the ability to augment soft tissues. The use of dermal fillers can correct certain facial feature such as thin lips or even facial asymmetry. Advances in cosmetic dentistry and sedation dentistry make it possible to do these procedures with less patient anxiety and pain. Ultimately any cosmetic dentistry smile makeover is in the eye of the beholder. Just because certain procedures are possible it does not mean it should be done on each and every patient. Many patients embrace their uniqueness and are fine with the way they look. Others are looking for a change and thats where cosmetic dentistry can come in and make that happen for them.
Marielaina Perrone DDS