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Quick Tip - Creating Beautiful Esthetics

So creating beautiful smiles is really about creating beautiful health.

Our vision when we're trying to create a great looking smile is to design something that's going to be a mirror of the relative health of the system. And I think, as we begin to consider enhancements or changes to someone's smile, we need to think of it in a perspective as a smile designer first, before we're beginning the treatment plan, what the results will be.

And when we begin to consider what components we're going to manipulate in order to try to optimize someone's smiles, we need to consider that with the end in mind, but obviously with an omnipresent understanding of the system at large and how the engineering will be.

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But there are criteria that are available that'll help us to create a measurable metric so that we can come up with a predictable result.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry is one of the largest esthetic dental organizations in the world. And although they didn't create smile design, what they provided for us is a reference that's based on a compilation of the literature that's available that gives us some gold standards in how we may evaluate smiles, how we make determinations about what we're going to change in someone's smile.

And I think the way we compartmentalize and organize our thinking helps us to make decisions in this process. So when this book was written, the way it was designed, we want to first create the broadest perspective relative to esthetics and progressively narrow our focus until we get to the point of measuring shade and contours and those kinds of criteria.

We're first going to begin with global esthetics.

Global esthetics have to do with the orientation of the teeth to the face and the lips that encircle them. We want to look at how these players sit in the face and how they should be composed.

We're then going to narrow our focus to macro esthetics.

Macro esthetics have to do with the orientation of the teeth to each other, line angles, incisal embrasures, those kinds of contours that relate teeth to the contralateral balance in the smile.

And finally, we'll narrow our focus to micro esthetics.

Micro esthetics have to do with shade, color, textures, translucencies, those little idiosyncracies that truly make teeth look like teeth.

Now, these are guidelines, they're not rules.

And I think it's important for us to understand that because we always can't create perfection. I think Pablo Picasso said it best when he said, "We need to understand the rules like a pro before we can begin to break them as an artist." So as we begin to consider changes in our patients' smiles, I think it's important for us to understand these foundational building blocks before we compose our final result.

Why Porcelain Breaks

Picture of Dr. Scott Finlay

Scott Finlay, D.D.S., FAGD, FAACD is the Resident Expert in Dental Esthetics and Senior Faculty member at the Dawson Academy. Dr. Finlay is one of the world’s most recognized dentists in the area of esthetic dentistry, winning several awards from the AACD. He is also a full-time practicing dentist at his practice in Annapolis, MD.