by Dr. David Newkirk, D.D.S., Naperville Cosmetic Dentistry
Q. My front teeth were chipped. I asked my dentist to smooth them down so that they would be straight and even. Now I feel like they are too “short” and I am having trouble with certain letter sounds. Can this be fixed?
A. It absolutely can be fixed. When I evaluate the aesthetics of a smile, I begin my analysis with the two central incisors. I keep these questions in mind: Can the patient say words that start with “s”, “f” and “v” properly? Can they close their lips around the teeth naturally? Are the central incisors in the correct horizontal and vertical position? Are the central incisors the correct proportion? Proportion, position and function of the central incisors is very specific to the individual patient and these teeth need to be customized accordingly. The picture below is an example of a patient who had recently been restored by another dentist. This patient came to me with the very same question that you have asked. The central incisors had been restored with incorrect proportion and position. The patient’s biggest complaint was the aesthetics and her inability to enunciate words that begin and end with the letter “s”. Having your teeth that were worn or chipped or “smoothed” down can cause the same problem. I always evaluate the size of the incisors before placing a final restoration. There are formulas that I can use to determine exactly how long a tooth should be for proper form and function.
This particular patient had been restored to a very unnatural shade of white and opaqueness that did not compliment her natural skin tone. In addition to correcting form, we restored her to a more natural, more flattering tooth shade that blended with her own skin tone. The final result was correct form and natural beauty.
Most people would agree that a beautiful smile is an asset. Your smile speaks volumes. It can tell others who are and what you are feeling. A beautiful smile conveys warmth and caring. Until you smile your eyes are the most dominant feature in your face. When a smile is revealed it becomes the most dominant feature. The most important part of a smile is the central incisors or two front teeth. The central incisors have the ability to make or break a smile. What most people do not realize is that the central incisors are also critical for speech and lip closure paths.
By concentrating on the function of the centrals, natural aesthetics will always follow. You can see that the smile that functions properly is also more attractive.
ask an expert Dr. Newkirk graduated from Loyola Dental School in 1993. He lectures nationally and internationally including Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. He has received numerous awards for excellence in dentistry and has been named one of the top educators in dentistry by Dentistry Today magazine. He has practiced dentistry in Naperville for the last twenty years and lives in the community with his wife and two daughters. While Dr. Newkirk is a general dentist, he has also chosen to pursue additional education in cosmetic dentistry and treatments of problems associated with the jaw joint and bite-related issues. Website: www.napervillecosmeticdentistry.com