Implementing smile design principles comes down to balancing technical skills with an intuitive sense of aesthetics. In this blog, Dr. Olitsky gives you a quick and easy-to-read smile design refresher on key concepts.

7 Essential Smile Design Refresher Principles

smile design refresherNo matter how skilled we are as clinicians, we still need to brush up on the basics every once in a while. Our minds get filled with the fluff of life: kids, spouses, hobbies, patients, staff, etc. That’s why I’ve created this simple overview of seven smile design principles that take an average case and make it extraordinary.

1. Avoid a Crooked Smile

Avoid a crooked smile by taking in the patient’s face as a whole through pre-treatment photography. Also, relate the restorative horizontal plane to a laboratory technician comfortable with utilizing a face bow.

2. The Reverse Smile

When determining smile symmetry, recognize when an unaesthetic incisal line occurs. Correct this issue by analyzing tooth lengths and the relationship of tooth lengths to lip dynamics.

3. The Social Six

The smile width indicates that a smile commonly includes 10-12 maxillary teeth. When determining restorative corrections to make, much more needs to be taken into account than solely the anterior 6 teeth.

4. Four Central Incisors

Over-lengthening or narrowing the teeth compared to their actual width can create narrow teeth. This can occur when planning length or width changes for esthetics or correcting crowding of the incisors.

5. Overcontoured Teeth

Overcontoured teeth in your preparation design can lead to under-reduced transitional line angles. Overlay a properly designed mock-up of the final restoration on top of the teeth. It is also crucial to maintain depth cuts of appropriate thickness.

6. Ignoring Negative Space

Properly address the incisal angles by allowing room for the negative space in preparation design to be recreated by the ceramist.

7. Gum Symmetry

The most important symmetry principle is to ensure that the gingival margins of the laterals fall short of the line drawn from the gingival apex of the centrals to the canines.

What is your favorite smile design refresher principle?