Sometimes due to the narrowness of the jawbone or missing teeth a smile can make a smile appear narrow.
This leads to unsupported cheeks and lips giving an aged appearance. Also, the widest part of the smile appears darker affecting the appearance of the smile. This also creates an illusion that the front teeth look too prominent or they stick out. We call this having a “narrow buccal corridor”.
The treatment involves creating a wider look or smile, making the arch form of the front teeth to be in congruence with the back teeth.
A narrow smile should always be illustrated to the patient and shown the effect of how a wider smile could improve the overall look. This can be done by the way of a ‘mock up’, where composite material is placed and shaped on the back teeth affected. This process can take from a few minutes to half an hour and is reversible as no drilling or local anaesthesia is required. The patient can often see how the wider smile would look. Photographs can be Tay ken of the narrow and wide smile so the patient has a comparison they can look at to make an informed decision.
Whichever the methodology used, whenever there is narrow smile present, if this is not widened then the patient needs to be informed of the compromised change in appearance any dentitesy undertaken may provide. The effect is that the undertaken dentistry may still make the front teeth look prominent and this may then increase the amount of tooth preparation needed for treatment with veneers or the amount of tooth movement with orthodontics.
A detailed assessment and clinical evaluation can highlight if this is a major factor that affects an overall smile. Treatment plans can then be constructed to show the concern with advantages and disadvantages of any treatment options explained in detail.
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