Why Digital Smile Design is an Effective Method

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A beautiful smile is one of the most memorable things about someone. It’s what everyone wants, because there’s a confidence it brings that arrives no other way. Not everyone is genetically blessed with straight white teeth and healthy, well-proportioned gums.

For a patient to be able to visualise the outcome of their new smile, dentists use a Digital Smile Designing (DSD) tool. DSD involves the participation of the patient in the design process of their smile, absolutely catering to individual needs and engages on an emotional level. It’s this inclusion that greatly increases confidence in the process; securing more candid discussion, agreement and approval of the treatment plan. Digital smile design improves the ability for the patient to clearly view the newly proposed aesthetic and graphic illustration allows any of the patient’s concerns to be easily demonstrated and addressed.

The last two decades has had smile designing progress from physical to digital – the evolution from 2D to 4D, where motion is added. Initially, hand drawings on photographs of the patient were used to communicate the end result; editing and explanation via illustration were not so simple.

A digital intra-oral scanner is used for so that accurate photographic documentation can be made. Complete facial and dental analysis is crucial: digital video is the gift that allows dynamic analysis of the face, teeth, gingiva, and lips when smiling, laughing and talking – all part of the signature of who we are in this world.

Correct digital smile planning follows a strict photography protocol. Photos must be of utmost quality and precision, with standard and correct posture because facial reference lines – like the commissural lines, lip line, and inter-pupillary line – form the basis of the balance and beauty of a smile. Substandard photographs give a complete misrepresentation of the patient, and can only lead to inadequate diagnosis and planning.

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It’s why these specific fixed head perspectives are necessary, and must be accurate:

Full face, wide smile, teeth apart;
Full face with a wide smile and the teeth apart;
Full face at rest;
Retracted view of the full maxillary and mandibular arch with teeth apart;
Side Profile at rest;
Side Profile with full smile;
A “12 o’clock” view – wide smile with incisal edge of maxillary teeth visible, resting on lower lip;
Intra-occlusal view of maxillary arch from second premolar to second premolar.

For facial, phonetic, functional and structural analysis, equally specific and precise videos must be taken from these angles:

Frontal smile – with retractor and without retractor;
Facial profile with lips at rest and wide smile;
A “12 o’clock” from above the head and the sharpest angle that allows sight of the incisal edge;
Anterior occlusal from second premolar to second premolar with the palatine raphe as a straight line.

Videos are more than helpful in capturing a still at the perfect moment. A spontaneous smile lasts just 500 milliseconds – such swift magic that can still capture a heart.

The skill level of the dentist is crucial with Digital Smile Design. Your practitioner not only needs to be highly proficient in cosmetic dentistry, but have a keen eye and the creative ability to bring what was once imagined, to life: to your life – changed with a smile that can uplift the world.


The content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. Northern Dental Design does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the content.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional personal diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a dental or medical condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read or seen on the Site.

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