Dr Zak gets a bit technical this month, explaining the science behind the perfect smile. But it all makes perfect sense once you read it. Dr Zak Schabort trained in the highly specialised field of Aesthetic Dentistry and Aesthetic Beauty Techniques and is the founder of the nationwide Cosmetic and Dental Emporium (with its flagship branch in the V&A Waterfront).
A balanced smile contributes in a very large scale to an aesthetically pleasing face. Let’s look at the science behind a perfect smile to understand why the smile plays such an important role.
A balanced smile will have midline perfection. If a line runs through the middle of the face and divides the equally sized upper front teeth, even the cheekbones appear more harmonious and symmetrical. This is because the human eye often appreciates certain triangles in the face, rather than aiming for one specific feature in isolation.
A perfect smile has a beautiful positive curve and all teeth should not be exactly on the same horizontal level. The smile should be friendly as this forms an attractive feature when it complements the lower lip. For a youthful appearance, the length of the front teeth should always be more than the width. Shorter teeth may look square. The width should usually not be more than 70 per cent of the length.
The colour of the teeth should either match the white of the eyes or may be a bit whiter, but never darker, as this will create negative balance or shadows. Natural teeth comprise of many different shades and become more translucent towards the tip of the teeth. This should be taken into consideration when you opt for veneers, otherwise, it may look very unnatural. Normally yellow teeth indicate extrinsic staining due to colourants found in our diets. Yellow eyes, on the other hand, may indicate liver problems. Either way, it is advised to consult your doctor and dentist.
The gum line should follow the upper lip when you smile. Central incisors and canines should have the same height, slightly higher than lateral incisors. This creates a pleasing gum line and should be as symmetrical as possible to allow horizontal symmetry with the line that runs through the eyes. Gummy smiles (smiles that show excessive gum) can easily be addressed by injecting neuromodulators into the levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscle (that’s a mouthful) or in skeletal cases laser gum-contouring or crown lengthening could be performed.
A perfect smile is broad to prevent those ‘dark triangles’ when you show off those pearly whites. Narrow smiles may weaken your profile or it may give the appearance that the front teeth are protruding. If it works for Julia Roberts, it can work for you.
A broader smile provides the lips with better support and they will appear fuller – and still look natural. Narrow smiles are often the result of a soft diet or may be as a result of early loss of primary teeth. Modern orthodontics allow us to broaden the smile while straightening the teeth. We also have to take embrasures into consideration. These are small triangular indentations found between the tips of our teeth. They should be the smallest between the front teeth and gradually increase in size towards the back of the mouth. With a broader smile, embrasures are very complimenting, revealing the true art and depth of all the dimensions in the face.