Identifying What Is Seen at Each Cosmetic Dentistry Smile Stage
Below is an excerpt taken from my book, A Guide to the Perfect Smile, where I cover a plethora of information for dentists and patients alike, to learn how to properly identify, classify, and then create the desired smile of a patient’s dream.
Types of Smiles
So whenever we talk about a smile or a particular smile problem, we first have to decide, when looking at the smile, whether it is at stage I, II, III or IV. However, when we are looking at a particular stage, we have to determine what is visible for that person within that stage. So after identifying the pattern and breaking it into stages, we have to move to the next element: identifying exactly what we are seeing at each stage.
Which brings us to smile types. Categorizing smiles shows that there aren’t an infinite number of them. There are only a certain number of variables involved. Types of smiles have to be defined based on what is showing, in terms of the upper and lower teeth, at any one time.
There are five variations in which dental and/or periodontal tissues are displayed in what I call the smile zone – the pattern and stages together
Type 1 maxillary (upper jaw) only
Type 2 maxillary and over 3 mm gingival
Type 3 mandibular (lower jaw) only
Type 4 maxillary and mandibular
Type 5 neither maxillary nor mandibular
In the vast majority of cases, people may be categorized under single type, although there are instances in which types are combined.
For instance, a patient may have a complex smiles prominently showing maxillary and mandibular teeth and have a maxillary “gummy” smile displaying more than 3 mm of gingival tissue. This off smiles pattern would be a type 2/4.
Sometimes a change from one stage to another can change a smile’s type. This woman’s smile (top photo) is a type 1 in stage III, showing little gum, but (middle photo) is a type 2 in stage IV showing a lot of gum.
The categories above may be systematically combined to create standardization of terms objectively describing various of smiles. Pattern. Stage, and type together provide a complete, easy, and concise description of smiles.
Using this system, a dentist can easily analyze and classify a particular patient’s smile.
Let’s say you show a dentist a picture of a smile you would like. The dentist can look at it and say it’s a cuspid smile, stage I, type 2. Then the dentist can analyze your actual smiles to see if the desired smile fits the realities of you smile pattern.”