There are 32 teeth in your mouth (unless you had your wisdom teeth removed), and they all have an important role to play, but when it comes to an attractive smile, there are six teeth that are more important than all the others.

The teeth in the center of your upper jaw are always on display when you smile and they do more to control the appearance of your smile than any others, so ensuring that they look attractive must be our top priority.

Maxillary Central Incisors

Beautiful woman with a gorgeous, white smileThese are the two large, flat teeth in the middle of your upper jaw. All upper teeth are called maxillary, because the upper jaw is called the maxilla (the lower jaw is the mandibula, and lower teeth are called mandibular). The position of these teeth establishes the midline of your smile, and whether you have a gap in your smile.

The size and shape of the maxillary central incisors says a lot about your smile. Being larger than your other teeth, they focus the eye on the center of the smile, helping to ensure that people see the symmetry of your smile. In proper proportion, these teeth should be longer than they are wide. They create a youthful impression if they are longer than the teeth next to them, the lateral incisors. Because they occupy a much larger area than your other teeth, defects in the central incisors can be significantly damaging to your aesthetics.

Square centrals create a strong, aggressive appearance, while more rounded ones create a softer, friendlier smile.

Maxillary Lateral Incisors

These are the teeth on either side of the central incisors. They should be narrower than the central incisors, but how much narrower depends on the character of the smile. The height of the lateral incisors also helps establish the character of the smile. If they’re significantly shorter than the centrals, the smile can look more youthful, but a closer proportion helps the smile look more mature and reliable.

Maxillary Canines

The maxillary canines are next to the lateral incisors. In some people, these can be very canine looking: long and sharp, while for others they are not as long and more rounded. Sharp canines give an aggressive appearance, while rounded ones look more friendly.

Canines also have a functional role. They help support the muscles of the face and help determine the shape of the smile, including the lip line–how the upper lip crosses the teeth or gums–and the buccal corridor–the dark space around the teeth at the edge of the smile.

Although all teeth are important in your smile, these six teeth are the most visible and they’re the ones we will most likely work with if you are seeking porcelain veneers or other cosmetic dentistry procedures. By modifying these teeth, we can dramatically alter the attractiveness and character of your smile.

To learn more about what a difference changes in these teeth can make, please call (949) 551-5902 for an appointment with an Orange County cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.