Cosmetic Dentistry

In this issue we will look into cosmetic dentistry, what is cosmetic dentistry and how it can transform a smile. In the first of three articles, we will discuss what is cosmetic dentistry? Our second article will address the different methods used to improve a smile, and the final article will consider the advantages and disadvantages of having cosmetic work done.

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What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is about improving the appearance of the teeth by changing their size and shape, along with their colour, in relation with the gums and the position of the teeth in the mouth.

Psychology of appearance.

When we look at a smile teeth are certainly a big part of a smile but it is by no means the only component. The whole face including the lips, cheek, eyes are part of a smile. When individuals are self-conscious of their teeth their smile tends to be constricted because they try to show as little of their teeth as possible. So even though teeth are a small part of what makes up a smile it has a big psychological impact on a person. This in turn will affect their smiling.

What is beauty in relation to a smile?

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. What one person thinks is beautiful another might find odd or ugly. I don’t think there is right or wrong when we consider what is considered normal, within the context of a smile, when thinking of the appearance of teeth . In cosmetic dentistry the standard we try and achieve is symmetry and balance. This relates to the shape and size of the individual teeth but also the shade of the teeth in relation to the face as a whole.


Teeth shape, colour and size varies from individual to individual. The right balance of appearance of the teeth must be considered in relation to the person’s overall face. Sometimes crooked teeth appear well placed in some smiles. Blemishes and cracks can also be appropriate. But what does stand out is lack of symmetry and considerable difference in teeth shape, size and colour in the smile line. If each tooth within the smile is in stark contrast to each other this creates a chaotic picture. And our brains perceive this to be odd and undesirable.

In figure 1 we can see that each tooth in the smile is different in shape and size but also there is disharmony in colour. There is also a cant to the incisal line of the teeth which makes the smile crooked and imbalanced. The position of the teeth also creates a sense of disproportion and irregularity.

The photo in Figure 2 shows the same lady after the teeth have been improved cosmetically. I have used a combination of materials, composite resin (plastic tooth coloured material) was used for the veneers on some of the front teeth and ceramic crowns for the others and bridges to replace missing teeth.

We have created a more balanced smile. Within the context of the persons age and gender, the incisal line has been altered, making it straighter. Each individual tooth has also been modified to create uniformity and regularity . The shade of the teeth have also been carefully chosen to avoid making the teeth appear fake and to blend in with the persons individual circumstances.

Therefore cosmetic dentistry tries to emulate what is in nature by providing symmetry in context with the subject. But uniform symmetry is not always natural. Nature is asymmetrical in most instances. So wanting to achieve symmetry is not always appropriate.

Each person is unique and their smile is no different. Before cosmetic dentistry is considered the individual must be clear about what their expectations of a desirable smile should be. Hollywood is not the best benchmark in most cases. Your age, gender, race, facial form and cultural bias are very important and must be taken into consideration when deciding on a smile design.

In our next article we will explore the different types of materials and techniques we have at our disposal to create individual beautiful smiles.

The team at Procare Family Dental would like to wish you and your family a wonderful new year and a joyous festive season.

Roland Chong

Roland has over 20 years experience as a general dentist. Roland does all aspects of general dentistry with a special interest in prosthodontics (crown and bridge work) and cosmetic dentistry. A member of the International Team of Implantology, Roland is constantly developing his skills by collaborating with international experts.

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