When it comes to designing the perfect smile for you, many factors go into getting it just right. Here are some basic principles of smile design that our Columbia, SC cosmetic dentist use, explained in plain, everyday language to help you understand how we can help you get the perfect smile!

happy young smile

Straight Teeth

When it comes to making your teeth straight, there are many things people are referring to that can make a smile look “straight” or “crooked.”

Smile midline: If the midline of your smile is off-center with the centerline of your face, it can make your smile look off.

Teeth tilt: Your teeth should be vertical so that the lines between them are up and down, though slightly tilted toward the center.

Teeth gap: Your teeth should touch without spaces or gaps between them. The triangles created by the curves of your teeth above and below the touch should not be too large, and there should be no blackness visible between the touch and your gums. The two teeth in the middle, called your central incisors, should touch the most, with less contact as it moves toward the side.

Symmetrical teeth: Your teeth should be generally symmetrical, basically like mirror images, around the central line.

Shapely Teeth

The shape of your teeth is important to creating an attractive appearance. We look at a lot of things when deciding the most beautiful tooth teeth shape for you.

Proportionate teeth: Your central incisors should be larger than your other teeth in terms of width. It may also be longer than your other teeth, though some people prefer a smile that has the teeth all the same length or one in which the canines are as long as the central incisors. We’re often asked “are your front teeth supposed to be longer?” Yes! Most smiles have longer front two teeth. However, if you don’t like the way it makes your smile look, we can make teeth the same length.

Width and length:  When your teeth are about 80% as wide as they are long, you can achieve a pleasing shape.

Although many mathematical formulas generally guide these characteristics, your dentist achieves sn an attractive teeth shape with an artistic eye.

Your Smile Should Be Unique

In addition to following all these basic principles, your smile needs to be your own. We can work from the natural proportions of your current teeth and maintain many factors that make your smile your own. Or we can talk to you about your desired smile characteristics so you can design the smile you want.

Aged smile: One important characteristic is what age you want to convey with your smile. In general, a youthful smile has longer teeth, rounder teeth, and whiter teeth. The central incisors also tend to be longer than the laterals.

Friendly smile: People consider rounded canine teeth as friendlier smiles. In contrast, it can seem more aggressive if the canines are sharper. The distinction is also sometimes labeled feminine vs. masculine smiles because men are more likely to have longer, sharper canines.

White Teeth

Healthy, attractive teeth are generally white, but what color exactly that means depends on your skin tone, lip tone, and preferences. Teeth whitening will be able to achieve results consistent with your natural enamel, which may not be as bright as others’. If you want to achieve greater whiteness overall or address a single discolored tooth, porcelain veneers can help.

Around Your Teeth

Your smile is more than just your teeth. There are many other elements that your cosmetic dentist will use to design your smile, including your gums, lips, and even space.

Attractive Gums – the Foundation of an Smile

closeup of a females healthy and bright smileIf you want to have an attractive smile, you must have healthy gums. Pale pink gums are an essential part of your attractive smile. If your gums aren’t healthy, make gum treatment the first step in your smile makeover. If you don’t, you may not have teeth to show in your smile.

Next, we will look at the contour of your gums. There should be symmetry between the height of gums on your teeth. The peak height of your upper central incisors (your two central teeth) and your upper canines (eye teeth, sometimes called fangs because they’re sharp in many people) should be close or equal with the peak height of the lateral incisors (the teeth between your central incisors and canines) should be lower.

When you smile, you should show some gums at the top of your smile, but not too much. If you have too much gum tissue visible, we can contour them to show a reasonable amount.

Your Lips Frame Your Smile

Your lips determine how much of your smile you show. As we age, our lips tend to sag more and lift less when we smile, reducing the amount of teeth and gums we show. It’s easy to lengthen your teeth to improve their show, but it’s harder to extend your gums.

Your lips will also show the proper shape of your smile. The lip line, formed by the upper edge of your lower lip, should be parallel to the line created by the lower margin of your upper teeth.

A Walk Down the Buccal Corridor

The buccal corridor is the area at the corner of your smile where there is empty space between your teeth and the commissure, where your lips come together. It’s hard to understand how empty space is part of your smile design, but it’s crucial. If there’s no empty space there, your smile will look crowded and toothy. If there’s too much, your smile will look empty. It’s important to balance this just right so that your smile looks healthy and attractive.

Let Us Design Your Smile

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your current smile, our Columbia, SC cosmetic dentist can work with you to determine the perfect new smile for you.

Please contact Smile Columbia Dentistry or call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment.