Understanding Smile Styles

Mar 19, 2014, by Dr. Becky Coats

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how your smile style influences the number of porcelain veneers you should get in a smile makeover. However, we didn’t actually talk about what we mean by smile style.

Smile style refers to the generally involuntary way that your smile develops, which muscles activate first to shape your smile. This will influence the number of teeth you tend to show when you smile, and therefore which teeth should be your priority to receive porcelain veneers.

The Commissure Smile

About two thirds of people have this most common type of smile. The commissure smile begins with the corners of your lips being pulled up and outward. Typically, these are actually pulled toward the upper corner of your ear, but the actual angle varies. Although it’s common to have unevenness in how far your smile gets pulled on either side, creating a smile that is more pronounced on one side than the other, the angle of the smile is usually the same. People with this type of smile usually show only upper teeth.

Audrey Hepburn is an iconic version of this smile. The image of her in her black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s shows the basic style of the commissure smile, and plenty of other images reveal how dominant is her display of upper teeth.

The Cuspid Smile

The cuspid smile, which is found in about a third of people, begins with muscles on either side of your nose pulling upward. It is only after these muscles act that the corners of your mouth are pulled upward and outward. Usually, the corners of your mouth never reach as high as the central portions of your smile. People with this type of smile tend to show more lateral teeth.

Tom Cruise is a great example of this type of smile, but Elvis is another good example. His characteristic stage sneer is actually the beginnings of a smile.

The Complex Smile

The complex smile, found in only about 2% of people, begins in three places at once. Not only do the two groups of muscles that begin the commissure and cuspid smiles begin together, they are joined by muscles that pull the lower lip downward at the same time. This results in a much larger smile that is most likely to show off both upper and lower teeth at once.

Julia Roberts is a good example of a complex smile, as is Marilyn Monroe, and if you look at the shape of their smiles, you can see the similarities.

A Makeover That Preserves Your Smile

If you are interested in a smile makeover that will help you feel comfortable and confident showing off your smile style, we can help.

Please call 817-481-6888 to schedule a consultation at Grapevine Dental Care in Grapevine, Texas today.