What are the elements of a great smile?

What are the elements of a great smile?

Dr. Michael Sebastian

We all know when we see a person smile that “wow” he or she has a great smile!


But do we know what makes up a great smile? What are the elements of a fantastic smile? Today we will discuss and break down these elements for your understanding.

The smile arch. This esthetic ideal means the upper front six teeth should form an arch which parallels the lower lip. A reverse smile arch or flat smile arch is not pleasing to the eye.

Notice upper front teeth form arch which parallels lower lip

Flat smile arch

Reverse smile arch

2. Show all the upper front teeth with a normal or relaxed smile.

3. The width of the smile- With a relaxed smile, the upper back teeth should be visible and no dark spaces between them and the cheeks should be present.

4. The upper midline (which is between the upper front teeth) should be centered in the philtrum of the upper lip.

This smile shows elements 2, 3 and 4

Don’t use the nose because the nose is often deviated from the facial midline. Studies have shown the upper midline can deviate 3mm from the centered position before it becomes unaesthetic. The upper midline doesn’t have to match the lower midline for esthetics.

Missing lower front tooth so upper and lower midlines can’t match

5. The proportions of the teeth both in length and width need to match each other and the size of the face. The upper front teeth are the widest, the teeth next to those are ¾ their width and the eye teeth are 9/10 their width.

6. The color should be light and even throughout the front teeth.

Front teeth are short due to wear. Color is too dark

Now teeth are normal width, length and color after treatment

Small teeth

After treatment to align and restore teeth to correct size

7. The gum levels should be as noted in photo with the front teeth gum level higher than the side front teeth by 1-2mm and the eye teeth the same height as the front teeth.

Gum levels not correct

After treatment to develop correct height of gums and width of teeth

8. The upper front teeth don’t overly protrude or retrude. They should position just in front of the lower front teeth with the teeth together.


 After treatment to correct protruded upper front teeth

Retruded upper front teeth

After treatment to correct upper front teeth retrusion

9. The edges of the teeth should be smooth

10. The gums should fill out the space between the teeth. No what we call “black triangles”.

               Rough edges and black triangle

After treatment to align, correct black triangle and polish rough edges

Now, when you add all these elements up you get a fantastic smile which radiates confidence, beauty and health.

Let us “Build You” a better smile