Smile Design


Importance of a Smile

A nice smile enhances the way the wearer feels about themselves. Subconsciously it impacts many aspects of our lives. Research has shown that individuals who judge their own smiles to be attractive earn on the average of 4-8% more per year. Conversely people who feel their smile is unattractive are compensated an average of 5-10% less each year.

Our patients have commented on how their new smiles have increased their self-confidence. They find that they no longer cover their mouths with their hands when they smile, but openly express their joys and happiness. It has been said an improved smile makes a bigger impact on the participants of the makeover television shows than any other treatment. 


Comprehensive Treatment Planning

Designing a smile requires artistry and analysis. The subjective element of smile design may require years of experience for the dentist to develop the eye and talent for producing beautiful smiles. The objective element has been a primary focus of research for Dr Ward. He has published studies that define the dimensions of an esthetic smile. His landmark papers on the Recurring Dental Proportion have been studied throughout the world. The RED Proportion formulates the perfect smile exhibiting balance and harmony with the face.

Excellent results are dependent upon proper planning. The ultimate outcome and design of the finished smile should be pre-determined prior to beginning active treatment. Photographs are used to evaluate the smile and the computer is used to calculate tooth and smile proportions. Science and art are merged to create the ideal smile.


Principles of the RED Proportion

The Recurring Esthetic Dental (RED) Proportion states that the width proportion between two adjacent teeth as viewed from the frontal should remain constant progressing successively distally. In other words each tooth becomes smaller by a fixed percentage as you move back in the mouth. [ See Figure 1 ]

The RED proportion is not limited to one particular proportion but allows the desired RED proportion to be selected and consistently applied throughout each individual case. [ See Figure 2 ]

Studies have shown that smiles which maintain a constant 78% width/height ratio of the upper central incisors are preferred. Therefore with tall teeth, a wider central incisor is preferred resulting in a more dominant central incisor and a smaller RED Proportion. Conversely shorter teeth have a narrower central incisor and the front teeth are more similar in size. [ See Figure 3 ]

The taller the teeth the smaller the RED Proportion used. The shorter the teeth the larger the RED Proportion used. The 70% RED Proportion is recommended for average length teeth so the upper lateral incisor should be 70% the width of the central incisor.

Charts and tables have been created which allow the dentist and the dental laboratory to calculate the ideal size of the upper anterior six teeth. [ See Figure 4 ]

Figure 1 Figure 2Figure 3Figure 4 



The Ideal Smile


Normal Teeth

70% RED Proportion

Short Teeth

80% RED Proportion 

Tall Teeth

62% RED(Golden) Proportion