Some important features of a beautiful smile include:
- Tooth color
- Tooth symmetry
- Tooth shape
- Amount of teeth visible in a smile
- Tooth translucency
- The position of the teeth in relation to the lips
- The shape and symmetry of the gums
- The amount of gum showing in the smile
The list goes on and on. When I design a smile, I take into consideration all the above. When a woman talks, the edges of her front teeth should be visible. The length of the veneers will be determined by observing her talking and breathing. Once the edge position is determined I prefer to create dominant central incisors. This means I ask my ceramist to make the two front teeth 1-3mm longer than the neighboring teeth (the lateral incisors). The amount depends on age and how youthful we want her smile to appear. I also shape the gum tissue to make the central incisors symmetrical and more prominent relative to the lateral incisors.
It’s a fact of life for many of us that our teeth will wear down, discolor, and become misaligned with age. Most women in their late teens and twenties have larger and more prominent central incisors. For many women, after years of chewing, grinding, clenching, nail biting, or other damaging habits, their central incisors flatten to the length of the lateral incisors. For some, eventually all of the front teeth flatten or become misshapen at the edges. Males more commonly have flat edges to their teeth. Veneers allow us to recreate the shape, symmetry, and beauty that was lost.
When women with worn down, flat front teeth come in for consultations I tell them I’d like to lengthen their central incisors. Since our patient will need to wear temporary veneers for at least two weeks I’m able to temporarily give them longer front teeth. I request they wear the temporary veneers for at least three days before making additional changes. This way they can get used to them. Their teeth have been flat for so long it can be shocking to see their longer more youthful appearing teeth. After a few days they almost always want to keep the new length and shape.
Take a look in a magazine and look at all the beautiful smiles. If you pay close attention to the smiles you’ll notice, not only bright teeth that fill the lips from corner to corner, but longer central incisor teeth.
Do you recognize the smile in the middle photo?
Dr. Robert Soto is a General and Cosmetic Dentist in Downtown San Francisco. For more information on cosmetic dental services go to www.sfveneer.com or call (415) 398-8555 for appointments.