We all want to have an attractive smile, but what makes a smile attractive? It’s actually a combination of many factors that the mind processes quickly without us being aware of it. Here are 11 things the brain assesses in making a judgment about an attractive smile.
Tooth colour is one of the most obvious things people think of when considering an attractive smile. Unfortunately, over time, staining can discolour teeth, making them yellowish. Teeth whitening is great at removing stains, but not everyone has enamel that is as naturally white, and sometimes thin enamel causes dentin to show through. In that case, dental veneers or crowns can be used to whiten teeth.
This is the curve of your smile, which is created by the maxillary gum line and the incisal edge (which we’ll talk about later). It should create a slight upward curve and narrow toward the ends.
This is the amount of gums you show when you smile. This is influenced by the particular combination of muscles that activate to create your smile (people do this slightly different). Too much gum display leads to a gummy smile. Too little gum display can make your smile look toothy or too old (since gum display naturally decreases with age).
Your gums have to have a proper colour, too, to create the right contrast that defines your smile arc. If gum disease is causing redness and inflammation, it will affect both the amount of gums showing and the colour of your gums.
Maxillary Gum Line
Where your upper teeth and your gums touch is the maxillary gum line. It should help define the smile arc with a relatively straight appearance that curves around each tooth in an even way. Disruption of this gum line can make your gums look unhealthy and can make even straight teeth look crooked. Gum contouring can be used to help you achieve the best maxillary gum line.
The other line that defines your smile arc is the incisal edge. This is the edge of the upper teeth that cuts into food when you bite down. This line should be symmetrical, and should curve significantly upward from the central incisors — the longest teeth in your mouth — toward the molars in the back of your mouth.
Disruption of this line by a long, sharp canine can be attractive in a masculine way. Unattractive disruptions like chips, missing teeth, or small teeth can be corrected with restorations such as dental veneers, dental crowns, or even dental implants.
In some ways negative space — emptiness — in your mouth is as important as the physical presence of teeth and gums. The buccal corridor is negative space that makes a big difference in your smile. It’s the area between your teeth and the corner of your mouth when you smile. Too much space in the buccal corridor can give the impression you’re missing teeth, while too little can make your smile look toothy and crowded.
Cant is another name for tilt. Ideally, your teeth should be straight up and down. However, if they are slightly tilted forward or backward this not only makes your smile less attractive, but it can also lead to difficulty chewing and cleaning your teeth. We offer many braces options to address tilted teeth.
Your teeth should be spaced so that they are all touching, but just barely. Teeth that have gaps or are too crowded can look unattractive. Orthodontics can correct crowding or gaps in your smile.
Overbite is when your upper teeth extend slightly over your lower teeth. It seems that the development of overbite coincides with the invention of the fork, and since then it has become a characteristic of teeth that we consider attractive. Of course, too much of an overbite can be just as unattractive as no overbite or an underbite.
Symmetry is essential to beauty, and your smile is no different. To establish an attractive appearance, your smile should have the same midline as your face. The smile midline is between the two central incisors, and if it’s moved off to one side or the other, it can make your smile look unattractive.
Of course, it’s impossible to give a complete rundown on the aspects of your smile that matter, but hopefully this list has given you a sense of many of the most important factors — and an appreciation of how complex the issue is. To talk about your smile with a Sydney cosmetic dentist, please call (02) 9686 7375 for an appointment at My Hills Dentist in Baulkham Hills.