What makes a smile attractive?

What makes a smile attractive?

What makes a smile attractive? 

You may be wondering why another person's teeth look good, but are not 100% sure why? Or why another person's teeth don't look good, and may not be 100% sure why? 

The purpose of today's post  is going to be to go over the three main areas of a smile and the nuances within those areas that make a smile attractive or unattractive. 

Here are the 4 main factors to consider: 

  • Teeth positioning in your face or against your lips
  • Shade
  • Shape of teeth
  • Gums and spacing around teeth

Typically, the three of these need to be in harmony for a smile to be attractive. 

Teeth Positioning 

Lets start with where the teeth are in the face. 

The best way to do this is to check to see where the edges of your upper front teeth are in relationship to your lower lip. If your upper edges are:

  • Barely touching the bottom lip
  • Follow the curvature of your lower lip

You are in pretty good shape. The variances tend to happen when your teeth are worn down. 

In my personal experience, I’ve had cosmetic veneers or “bondings” placed on my front teeth. They were placed when I was in middle school and are holding on strong to this day!

Tooth Color

These characteristics are pretty obvious but we will cover them nonetheless. 

Let's start with shade. In general, the brighter and whiter your smile, the better. However, when you go this route you do tend to have a “fake” appearance if your teeth are too bright or opaque looking, making it clear that you either have dentures, crowns or veneers. 

Ideally as a cosmetic dentist, I want to give you a smile that is not only esthetically pleasing but doesn’t look fake. The goal is make it non-noticeable that you’ve had cosmetic work done. I’ve treated patients who have wanted varying shades in between the following two ranges:

  • Natural shade with characterizations (minor staining, appearance of lines)
  • Bright white, with no characterizations

In the end, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

Tooth Proportions 

In dentistry, we talk a lot about length-width ratios. In general we're looking for a 75 to 85% range. This also depends on the shape of somebody's face. If somebody has a really wide face you can get away with having wider teeth. If somebody has a tall and narrow face, with longer, skinnier teeth, the teeth tend to look pretty good. 

The roundness or squareness of the edges of your teeth also play a factor.  If your teeth are round at the edges, that actually portrays a more soft, younger, feminine look. If your teeth are very sharp, and have right angles at the edges you portray a more masculine, older look. 

Studying these variances,  there's some play that you can do when you're designing somebody's smile. If somebody desires to look a little bit younger, you can actually build that into the shape of their teeth. 


When the gums around your teeth follow natural harmonious patterns, they tend to appear more attractive. Also, the amount of display of your gums plays a factor as well. This plays into tooth proportion as well. When you have too much gingival display (where your gums are growing over your teeth), it tends to make your teeth look smaller or squarish. 

Another possibility is when your teeth and gums have grown downward. Meaning, your teeth have a natural proportion but you show an excessive amount of your gums when you smile. 

Black triangles or spacing can also have an unappealing appearance. 

When designing a smile we take all of these factors and more into consideration. We take photos, 3D scans, x-rays and other methods of data collection. With these in hand we can create a blueprint for your new smile. In other words, a game plan that will give you what you want - a smile that looks good and represents you. 

Your smile is actually mapped out in three-dimensions. Just like if you were building a house and you were going to get blueprints made, we get blueprints made for your smile. We get a chance to actually see what things are going to look like ahead of time and make changes or tweaks. 

We maybe feminize or masculinize the shapes of the teeth. We change length-width proportions, these kinds of things, they can all be worked out on the front end before a patient's teeth are even touched.

Everything is guided by the final position of the teeth, which allows us to be ultra conservative, only preparing areas that need to be prepared resulting with an optimal final result.

If you're curious about learning more about the Smile Solutions blueprint, the first step is a virtual smile consultation. And I will provide the link here in the post. And certainly, like I say at the end of every post, if you have suggestions for future topics, want to learn more, or you have any follow up questions to any of the content in this video, please reach out. 

Take it easy!