Understanding the Smile Line for an Objectively Shapely Smile

Dentist Blog

A surprisingly large amount of research has been done on smile attractiveness. A literature review in the European Journal of Esthetic Dentistry, for instance, examined 309 different articles and nine studies, looking at whether the same "smile line" is considered attractive by most people. Since the smile line is often used as a benchmark when reshaping a smile through cosmetic dentistry, it's important to know whether it's really an objective measure.

What the literature review found was that most people do find the same type of smile line attractive, which makes it an excellent guide in cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry. While many procedures in cosmetic dentistry focus on straightening and brightening teeth, examining the smile line is a good way to determine whether a smile is attractive in its overall shape.

What Is the Smile Line?

The smile line is an imaginary line that runs along the bottoms of your top front teeth. In order to see your smile line, you need to look in the mirror and give a big smile. The right kind of smile to be sure you see the line is one in which your teeth are closed and your smile is large enough that most or all of your two front teeth are visible. To get a really good look at your smile, find a photograph (or ask someone to photograph you) so that you can examine your smile line more easily. The less self-conscious you are, the better; you want to get a sense of what your natural smile looks like.

 If you decided to draw along your smile line in a photograph to more clearly see it, don't worry about following the exact rounded edge of each tooth—draw a smooth curve along the bottoms of the teeth.

What Is the Most Attractive Smile Line?

In the same photo of your smile, look at your upper lip and trace a line along its lower edge. Compare this line with your smile line; do they look parallel? This is considered the ideal smile line. The bigger the difference between the shape of the arcs, the less proportionate your smile line is.

How Can Your Smile Line Be Changed?

A cosmetic dentist has multiple tools to bring your smile line into congruence with your upper lip. To begin with, you should complete any orthodontic straightening or realignment before working on your smile line; this work can change your smile line.

Once this work is done, the most common method a cosmetic dentist uses is the application of dental bonding, a resin made to match the color of your teeth, to alter the shape of the front teeth. The installation of veneers over the front teeth can also alter the shape of the smile line. More rarely, teeth that are disproportionally long may be slightly ground down along the lower edge to fit the ideal smile line.

If you're interested in altering your smile or self-conscious about how your mouth looks, make an appointment with a cosmetic dentist to discuss the various options available to you.


26 June 2015

Baby Tooth as an Adult? You Are Not Alone

It was my secret for a long time, but I am finally sharing it -- I was an adult who still had a baby tooth. My dentist told me it shifted when my adult teeth came in instead of falling out. He also said I should have it pulled before it started causing dental problems, but I decided to keep it for a while. One day, during a dental check-up, my dentist found a cavity on the tooth next to it. He told me it was time to have it extracted, as it was close to the other tooth and making it hard for me to clean it. I had it taken out, and I don't miss it. I created this blog to tell other people with baby teeth as adults that they are not alone. Also, they can cause problems, so have them pulled if your dentist suggests it.