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Understanding the Different Types of Smile Stages

Your journey to the perfect smile should be begin by getting as much information as possible about different aesthetic and cosmetic dentistry procedures. When dentists want to create the desired smile of a patient, they have to review their case first. Each smile problem is classified into 4 different stages. We’ll take a look at these 5 types of smiles/stages to help you better understand the patterns that your smile makeover is likely to follow.


Why categorize smiles?

There are certainly an infinite number of smiles. These 4 broad categories are designed to help dentists better explain to patients the procedures that can be used to give them their desired smile makeover. These types of smiles are defined based on what is showing on both the upper and lower jaw.


Type 1: Maxillary (upper jaw) Only

A patient may have a smile where the maxillary/upper jaw teeth are showing prominently. This means that when the person smiles, the only set of teeth that can be seen are the ones on the upper jaw.


Type 2: Maxillary and Over 3 mm Gingival

There are people who smile and the upper teeth shows as well as more than 3mm of gingival tissue. This is what is commonly referred to as a “gummy smile”. There are dental procedures that can be done to perfect this smile.


Type 3: Mandibular (lower jaw) Only

If you smile and only the teeth on the lower jaw shows, then you have a type 3 smile. This smile may not appear genuine and a dentist may recommend a number of procedures to correct.


Type 4: Maxillary and Mandibular

In this case, the person shows both the upper and lower jaw teeth when smiling.


Type 5: Neither Maxillary nor Mandibular

When smiling with the mouth closed, none of the teeth, either on upper or lower jaws will show.


In most cases, a smile is categorized under a single type. However, there are some cases whereby the smile is a combination of different types. For instance, you may have a smile that prominently shows both the maxillary and mandibular teeth and still display more than 3mm of gingiva. This means that your smile is categorized as type 2/4.


Stages of smile

A smile cycle consists of 4 different stages. These are:


  • First stage: Lips are closed
  • Second stage: Resting display
  • Third stage: Natural smile
  • Fourth stage: Expanded smile


While smiles vary from person to person, everyone has a natural smile and an extended smile. The treatment plan to aesthetically improve one’s smile will be designed based on how the natural and extended smiles appear. This means that the smile makeover can focus on only the first six anterior teeth (for a natural smile) or more (for the extended smile). It all depends on what the patient wants to achieve. Ideally, dental treatments are not only done to improve the appearance of a smile but also for better form and function.

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