Why Your Smile Should Be Mostly (But Not Totally) Symmetrical

In terms of your physical appearance, you might want things to be mostly symmetrical. One half of your face should more or less match the other half. You want a close, mostly symmetrical appearance, but not totally symmetrical. Such exact symmetry may look unnatural, and can therefore be undesirable. What about your smile? 


You may not want total symmetry, but there should be uniformity. For example, your lower left incisor tooth should match the size and shape of your lower right incisor. What can a dentist do when a tooth (or teeth) on one side of your mouth don't match their counterparts on the other side?


Cosmetic dentistry offers many solutions to this lack of uniformity. The most straightforward way to proceed is with tooth enamel contouring. Your dentist will carefully and methodically remove an ultra-thin layer of the tooth's surface. This surface is made of dental enamel, which is the strongest part of the tooth and is necessary to fight off decay and other types of corrosion.


If enamel is necessary to stop the tooth from decaying, is it safe to remove it during enamel contouring? It certainly is, within limits. A tooth can be safely reshaped provided its enamel is adequately thick and healthy. Enamel has no nerves or blood vessels, so the only thing you'll feel is light vibrations from the sanding disc your dentist uses. The results are immediate, which is why enamel contouring can be the favored form of tooth reshaping. But sometimes the configuration of a tooth's enamel can make contouring impossible.


The tooth's surface enamel may already have deteriorated, meaning contouring would be unwise, as it removes the tooth's remaining protection against corrosive elements. Alternatively, reshaping the tooth by reducing its size may not be the most appropriate form of treatment in your case. A dentist can also build up a tooth to make it match its counterpart in your smile. They'll add a thin layer of tooth-colored dental resin to its prepared surface. This resin can be shaped, and then immediately dried using a special light. Additional layers can then be added as needed. This process (called dental bonding) also features immediate results.

When the left side of your smile doesn't match the right side, your dentist can help. A tooth can be made slightly smaller or slightly larger, depending on whether contouring or bonding is the most appropriate treatment in your case. In any event, a symmetrical smile is the end result.

To learn more about cosmetic dentistry options, contact a dentist in your area.