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Smile Designby Dr. Jason Olitsky

When evaluating the esthetic principles inherent to successful smile design, there are 7 violations that are common and undermine the success of the finished cosmetic case. Here’s one of my top clinical tips for maximizing the outcome of your esthetic cases by instituting a knowledge of facial symmetry into your approach to cosmetic dentistry in the practice.

Getting the Smile Straight

The first violation of smile design is simple yet can have dramatic effects on the perceived success of a restoration: a crooked smile.

Smile DesignMy primary advice is to recognize that when restoring a smile, dentists must pay close attention to the inter-incisal line, unless they want to deal with the resulting “tipped” appearance of the smile in relation to the face.

The total approach to acheiveing a straight smile includes multiple factors that utilize pretreatment plan work-ups and facial esthetic principles, such as:

  1. Horizontal and vertical facial perimeters
  2. The commissural line and inter pupillary line
  3. A vertical line drawn through the middle of the face (including the glabellar area)
  4. The tip of the nose
  5. The middle of the chin

Keeping these different esthetic principles in mind throughout treatment planning a smile, rather than just at the beginning of the evaluation, is necessary in order to guarantee consistent results. Transfer these esthetic principles over during the process of narrowing the analytic scope of the treatment to mounted models on the bench top.

There are two techniques that when mastered can contribute to the ideal straight smile:Smile Design

First, start with a solid basis of pretreatment photography so that the patient’s unique facial esthetics can be analyzed. This involves taking in the patient’s face as a whole. Many dentists will become too influenced by common facial asymmetries and lose sight of the true horizontal plane.

Smile Design

Second, relate the restorative horizontal plane to a laboratory technician comfortable with utilizing a face bow or digital smile design, as this process during mounting and waxing of the case can lead to drastically improved results.

With one or both of these techniques in your cosmetic arsenal, you can be sure that the patient will be satisfied with their smile.

Look for the next 6 “Violations of Smile Design” on the blog in our upcoming series by CMS educator Dr. Jason Olitsky, where he’ll discuss concepts such as negative space, overcontoured teeth, and gum symmetry.