Believe it or not, a set of perfectly aligned, bright pearly whites do not a dazzling smile make. Instead, this kind of perfection can make teeth appear artificial, phony and piano-key like (not exactly the look that most of us aim for). However, with the advent of a new dental procedure called ‘Harmonious Asymmetry’ (made famous by Duchess Kate Middleton), one can now achieve a smile that is natural, ‘imperfect’, but captivating. Dr Sam Thandar discusses this latest revolution in aesthetic dentistry.
It has been rumoured that the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, underwent a revolutionary new form of dental surgery to achieve the glistening smile that has charmed millions around the world.
However, rather than subjecting herself to the usual American-style treatment in order to create a perfect set of teeth, she reportedly placed herself in the hands of a pioneering French dentist, Dr Didier Fillion, who specialises in what is called “harmonious asymmetry”.
The latest innovation in anti-ageing dentistry
While this new procedure aims to create a dazzling smile, it’s by no means absolutely perfect. Instead of achieving perfectly aligned pearly whites (resembling piano keys), the teeth are structured in a way where it appears natural and healthy, but not artificial.
According to Dr Fillion, Kate Middleton’s smile is a perfect example of this – where Hollywood A-Lister, Tom Cruise’s smile is a bit too flawless – to the point where it actually appears artificial.
How is harmonious asymmetry achieved?
First, we assess your lip line – be it high, medium or low is dependent on the amount of tooth structure that is visible in the rest position, or when you smile. We then determine how much tooth structure should be visible for your respective lip line.
Once this is done, we evaluate your smile line as this is dependent on the shape of your lower lip in the smiling position. To achieve a harmonious smile, the Incisal edges (biting edges) of the upper teeth should generally correspond to the shape of the lower lip in the smiling position.
We then determine the line angles of each individual tooth. The line angle is a line drawn through the central long axis of a tooth. In achieving dental symmetry, the line angle of a central incisor (front tooth) should be perpendicular to the Incisal edge of the tooth. Furthermore, the right hand side of the mouth should be a mirror image to the left.
Shape, Texture and Space
When it comes to the shape and texture of the Incisal tooth, these edges should be perfectly flat, coming to a tapered point. They could possibly also have some minor irregularities or texture built into them.
As for the embrasure spaces (these are the spaces between the Incisal edges of each tooth), they can either be perfectly uniform and symmetrical (creating a mirror image to the opposite side) or can be fabricated with minor variance -while still maintaining the overall shape.
We also explore and analyse the surface texture and porosity of each tooth. With a perfect Hollywood smile, the surface texture of the teeth are fabricated so that they impart a completely smooth and uniform texture (often achieved with glazed ceramic veneers).
However with natural teeth, this is not the case. Natural teeth have a fair degree of texture, dynamically transforming from the Incisal edge of each tooth, all the way to the gum margin.
Lastly, the overall colour of the teeth is evaluated with regards to the modern colour theory (or The Munsell Colour System). This explains the dimensions of colour-hue, chroma (purity of colour) and value (lightness). Natural teeth or synthetically fabricated ‘natural’ teeth have all three of these dimensions, and in all the correct proportions – which is a factor of the superficial and underlying structure of the teeth.
A perfect Hollywood smile on the other hand tends to score pretty high on the chroma and value dimension of the colour system.
From the above, the reasons are quite clear why many people are now moving away from the traditional ‘American’ style smile procedures, and opting for a more natural appearance instead –à la Kate Middleton’s style.
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