One difference between a cosmetic dentist and a general dentist is that a cosmetic dentist, before doing any cosmetic dentistry work that involves multiple front teeth, will often perform a smile design consultation. Cosmetic dentists understand that communication with the patient over what they expect, what they want their teeth to look like, is critical to their success. Cosmetic dentistry is a self-esteem service. As such, if the result is not pleasing to the patient, the treatment is a failure. In order for you to be happy with the result, you need to have strong input into the artistic planning of your smile. To help you accomplish that, we have this brief presentation on the three broad categories of smile design.
There are three basic cosmetic dentistry smile design styles, and within each division there are variations on the theme. These concepts of smile design come from Dr. Jeff Golub-Evans, a prominent Manhattan cosmetic dentist.
The Sexy Smile
A sexy smile has variation in the lengths of the teeth. Since the central incisors tend to be longer than the other front teeth when they first come in and then wear down over time to an even length, we associate longer, more prominent central incisors with youth and “sexiness.”
Therefore, in the “sexy” smile design, the central incisors are significantly longer than the lateral incisors. A sexy smile conveys youth and boldness, or it can also convey warmth. A sexy smile design also draws the eye to the center of the face, emphasizing the nose and chin. It is good for people with prominent, attractive lips.
The Sophisticated Smile
Teeth in the sophisticated smile make a straight horizontal line. A sophisticated smile conveys maturity and intelligence. It tends to emphasize the width of the lower face. When teeth first erupt, the lengths tend to be more uneven. As we age, they wear to even lengths. Therefore, we associate teeth of even lengths with maturity, wisdom, and “sophistication.”
The Sporty Smile
A sporty smile is between sophisticated and sexy. The central incisors are a little longer than the laterals. A sporty smile design conveys casualness and informality, and can also convey warmth. It’s not quite as serious as the sophisticated smile nor as young as the sexy smile.
Factors that influence the smile design are:
- Your facial shape. For example, a long face may need to accentuate width to appear more oval. Someone with attractive features in the center of the face may need bold central incisors to draw attention to that center.
- Your image aspirations. How do you want to appear to others? A sophisticated smile gives the appearance of more intelligence, maturity and judgment. A sexy smile gives the appearance of more warmth, energy and boldness.
- Your age, or how old you want to appear. Longer central incisors make you appear younger. Also, whiter teeth make you appear younger. Conversely, a flatter smile or a more subdued color to the teeth make you appear more mature.
To read about how these factors are put together, please see my page, How to Design a Smile.
With your smile design consultation, an expert cosmetic dentist will go over all of these factors. He or she may have you pick a smile from a book of photographs of smiles. A good cosmetic dentist may disagree with your pick and will tell you, but the final decision is still yours. Ultimately, you have to be the one who is happy with your smile.
Quite frankly, the artistic sensitivity that makes a good cosmetic dentist often goes against the grain of the training that occurs in dental schools. Click here to read about the difference between a general dentist and a true cosmetic dentist. Cosmetic dentists are almost a “different breed” from your usual family dentist. A cosmetic dentist has a certain passion about esthetics and creating beautiful smiles that makes him or her want to dedicate his or her practice to this aspect of dentistry and to pursue extensive training in this special field. If you are contemplating cosmetic dentistry, we recommend using the services of a specially trained cosmetic dentist, such as the ones listed in our referral service, rather than a general dentist who merely claims expertise in cosmetic dentistry.
Read about DaVinci veneers, and Dr. Hall tells you if you should look for a dentist that does DaVinci veneers.
This content was written by Dr. David Hall