Cosmetic Dentistry Can Change Your Lip Line, Too

May 07, 2014, by Dr. Becky Coats

Here’s a question: what is more closely associated with your smile than your teeth? Give up? It’s your lips.

Look at this Google Ngram graph, and you’ll see what we mean. In its Ngram program, Google looks at all the books that have been indexed in Google Books to find out how often certain words are used. You can see that “smile” and “lips” go together, like, well, a wink and a smile (which actually don’t correspond all that closely). When Americans suddenly got interested in smiling, partly because of an increase in advertising around the turn of the 20th century, both smile and lips get a little bump, and from the 1940s to the 1970s, they matched one another almost exactly, and even today they show parallels, although they’re a little further apart. “Teeth” rise up a little later, partly associated with Americans learning to brush their teeth, and have a completely independent curve.

And it makes sense, because your lips help define your smile, and one of the ways they do that is through your lip line.

Cosmetic Dentistry and your Lip LineWhat Is Your Lip Line?

The lip line is where your upper lip crosses over your teeth when you smile. It seems like most people prefer a lip line that falls across the middle of your upper teeth for a moderate smile, and about at the top of your teeth for a broad smile.

If your lip line is too high, you might not be happy with showing too much of your gums. If your lip line is too low, you might think you show too little of your teeth.

You might be able to change your lip line by changing your smile style, but for most people cosmetic dentistry is the best approach to getting a new smile line.

Lip Line and Smile Style

We’ve talked before about the three smile styles: commissure, cuspid, and complex. These smile styles also influence your lip line. The commissure smile style has the lowest lip line, and the cuspid has the highest, with the complex smile somewhere in between, but tending toward the cuspid.

Some people say you can change your smile style if you practice hard enough in the mirror. This may be true for some people, but for most of us, a smile is a spontaneous and involuntary action that is hard to change, so cosmetic dentistry offers a better option.

Lip Line and Gum Height

Part of what defines the lip line is the height of your gums. If your gums are too high because of receding gums, gum treatments may be able to help, although if gum disease has caused serious receding gums, they won’t normally recover on their own.

On the other hand, if you have a naturally gummy smile, we can remove some excess gum tissue to give you a more attractive smile. We don’t want to remove too much healthy gum tissue, though.

Lip Line and Tooth Length

Changing your teeth is typically a more reliable way to change your lip line. If your teeth have been worn down or are naturally short, we can build them up with porcelain veneers or dental crowns.

On the other hand, if your teeth are too long, we can recontour your teeth to make them a little short. However, as with gums, we don’t like to remove too much healthy tooth material.

Want to Learn How We Can Improve Your Smile?

If you are unhappy with your lip line or have other concerns about your smile, we can help. Please call 817-481-6888 today to schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist in Grapevine at Grapevine Dental Care.



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