As dental practitioners dedicated to enhancing smiles, we walk a fine line in trying to give our patients the results they desire. Even though they’re not happy with the current appearance of their smile, they don’t want their new teeth to look artificial. The good news is that we can give patients a beautiful, natural-looking smile by sticking to the fundamentals and designing a restoration that’s both simple and attractive.
When designing a smile, there are so many choices that even the most seasoned practitioner can become confused — not to mention the patient. Shorter lateral incisors? Pointy canines? Irregular incisal edges? Strong facial anatomy? Should you follow the “Golden Proportion”? Are you confused yet?
Dental education concentrates on the most intricate details. We must know exact measurements, formulas, and the specifics of everything we do and use. But smile design is about the overall appearance; it’s about delivering restorations that complement the entire face. This is not to say that the specifics of accurate diagnostic records, preparation design, smile symmetry, and restoration contours, contacts and margins do not need to be followed — they do. However, creating the most pleasing smile for the individual patient requires that we see the patient’s facial features as a whole.
When I look at all the smiles that I have created, I find that those that have generated the most happiness — and the most patient referrals — were not based on some complicated formula. People simply want beauty, and you can give that to them by adhering to these six basic smile design principles:
Planning and executing a successful smile enhancement requires following some basic principles along with a comprehensive evaluation of the whole face. While every case requires its own unique approach, adhering to tried-and-true techniques in cosmetic dentistry will help give your patient a smile they are proud of.