“A smile is the universal welcome” – Max Eastman
There are few gestures or expressions that are universally translatable such as the smile.
The seemingly simple action of activating the muscles of facial expression to turn up the corners of the mouth has the potential to relay friendliness, trust and warmth.
A good smile can be crucial in making a good first impression, essential in social and professional settings.
What seems like a natural expression is not always easy for everyone to achieve.
In this blog, I as a facial aesthetic doctor have joined forces with expert Dentist Dr George Druttman to analyse the anatomy of the “perfect smile” and how to achieve or improve on your current smile.
Initiated by contraction of many facial muscles the smile is actually made up of the teeth, lips and eyes.
The correct balance between these components creates a smile that is perceived to be beautiful, warm and above all, genuine.
There are many facial muscular changes that result in a truly beautiful, happy smile. The cheeks pull back and upwards, highlighting teeth and lips. Muscles around the eyes contract, in turn, highlighting the eyes.
The size, shape and symmetry of the lips are important as the lips frame the smile. Full lips are associated with youthfulness, sensuality and generosity. There is no single perfect lip shape or size but numerous studies have shown that lips considered most attractive have several key features in common.
- There is a sharp angle between the top of the border of the lip and the base of the nose
- The cupid’s bow ( lip shape) is well defined
- The corner of the mouth should line up with the middle of the pupil on the same side
- Symmetry of the lips between each side of the face
- The upper lip should be slightly smaller than the lower
- The centre of the lips should be more full than the sides
In addition to having attractive looking lips, the perfect smile requires lips to be in proportion to the face and the teeth. When parted, the lips should show around 70% of the teeth in the gap during a smile and they should appear symmetrical. Aside of the expressiveness of lips themselves, they form the frame to the teeth.
Because of the contrast of material (hard), texture, colour and associated ‘function’, teeth represent so much and their appearance (or lack of it) says much about the individual…. all of which will be displayed in that smile, framed by the lips.
The appearance of the teeth and gums can indicate masculinity, femininity, strength, youthfulness, health and personal care and hygiene.
The size, colour and shape of the teeth and gums are important because they relay your health and intention. Like the lips, there is no such thing as homogenous ‘perfect’ teeth, although there are guidelines that are commonly perceived to constitute attractiveness.
* Generally the arrangement of the upper and lower teeth should be even around their arches.
* There are ‘mathematical ‘ guidelines as to proportion height, width and size of teeth to each other.
* Top and bottom teeth should meet evenly with the upper ones biting just outside the lowers.
* Teeth should ‘fill’ the smile and be visible at the corners of the lips (where they meet).
* Whiter is better, although not excessively so.
Last but not least is the very important contribution the eyes make. No matter how beautiful the shape of a smile formed by the teeth and lips, when people look to assess how genuine a smile is, the eyes give it away. The eyes and the mouth are the two primary areas of focus that people notice about any face.
Emotions and expressions portrayed by the eyes that do not correspond to the smile then give the impression of a lack of ‘genuineness’. Bright and animated eyes come across as responsive, alert and intelligent. Circles, bags or discolouration around the eyes may give the impression of poor health, self-neglect or stress.
Facial aesthetic doctors and dentists make a natural ‘collaboration’ when it comes to optimising , enhancing or correcting appearance issues relating to the face, and indeed, accentuated by ‘the smile’.
Dr Amel Ibrahim is an aesthetic doctor and founder of City Skin Clinic (www.cityskinclinic.com )
Her primary interest is in facial aesthetics and providing non surgical, minimally invasive treatments, focusing on not just beautiful but natural-looking results. Appointments at City Skin Clinic now available on request at CAP City Dental and when appropriate Dr Ibrahim is happy to consult with and treat in collaboration with the aesthetic dentists.