Cosmetic dentistry seeks not only to remedy specific visual defects but also to help patients achieve an “attractive smile.” There is no fixed, universal ideal, but a few general criteria do exist:

  • The teeth—especially the conspicuous front teeth—should be relatively even in color, with a slight yellowing near the gumline. They should be slightly translucent near the biting edges and neither dead white nor darkly discolored.
  • The upper front teeth are the most visible ones in the mouth. The open smile should reveal most of their surfaces. Lips should not sag so far, nor the teeth be so worn, that the biting edges can’t be seen. A smile, however, shouldn’t be so high that it exposes large areas of the upper gums.
  • The teeth in each jaw should be fairly straight, and shouldn’t tip or overlap. The biting edges should form a fairly smooth contour, a smile line, that curves gently upward to parallel the line of the smiling lower lip.
  • The biting edges of the front teeth should be slightly curved at the corners, and not ground flat. The upper central incisors and canines should be slightly (but only slightly) longer than the lateral incisors.