Many patients will come to see me after their former dentist has done some smile work that does not look right. What is it about the teeth that does not look right? Often it is a combination of many problems that include the two major important issues: CONTOUR ( the subtle intricacies of shape and form) and COLOR.( the way that light reflects off or penetrates the tooth)
Natural teeth have many specific characteristics. When setting out to make improvements in a smile, it is critical to reproduce all of these subtle details. This is not always an easy task or else every dentist would be able to produce impeccable natural results.
What qualities does a real tooth have that must be duplicated in order for a smile to look great and look natural?
The outer shape of the front six teeth must have three planes.
The outer shape of the four front teeth must have two depressions and convexities called lobes which reflect light in a specific pattern.
The edge shape between the front teeth called embrasures must be V shaped and clearly defined.
The outer curves of the teeth called line angles must be clearly pronounced and symmetrical.
The color of the edge of the front four teeth must exhibit translucency where light passes through.
The color of the six front teeth at the gum line must be darker and more saturated so that there is a specific transition of three different colors in a single tooth from edge to top.
These are a few of the many principles which must be followed when the dentist is hand sculpting composite resin and layering different colors on a tooth in order to duplicate nature and make a smile look great. These same principles are to be followed when a lab technician is fabricating ceramic crowns or veneers. The eyes of the dentist and technician must be able to detect what looks natural. The hands of the dentist and the technician must be able to create all of these qualities. This is truly art!