Smile Analysis

Your smile is about much more than just your teeth. Your gums, lips, bones, facial shape and facial features all influence the pleasing aspects of your smile. With an individualized assessment and smile makeover at DC Smiles, we can provide you with a smile you are excited to share. We offer a comprehensive consultation with experienced dentist Dr. Singer so you can receive an individualized smile analysis. To schedule your appointment, please call DC Smiles at Old Town Alexandria Office Phone Number 703-299-4614.

What does the Ideal Smile look like?

Many people tend to judge the smile by the teeth alone, but they are actually seeing how the tongue, bones, teeth, lips and gums form the aesthetics of the face. If any of these three components deviate from the accepted norm, the smile may appear to be unsightly, even with straight, white teeth. One of the reasons to choose Dr. Singer is because of his ability to enhance your smile in three dimensions. He considers your entire facial structure and underlying bone, not just your teeth.Consider how these three smile components can appear:


Lips play a dominant role in the ideal smile. Lip lines are classified as low, medium, or high, with medium being the most desirable. A low lip line is one that shows little or no tooth structure when talking or smiling. With a medium lip line the whole tooth shows when talking or smiling. A high lip line, considered a less pleasing appearance, is one where all of the front teeth and gum tissue above the top front teeth are visible.

Teeth exposureGums

ideal tooth proportionsThe gum tissue surrounding the teeth should fill spaces between teeth that touch so no gaps are visible. Where the tooth appears to come out of the gum, the gum should have a scalloped (wave-like) look that follows the upper lip line. It should be situated higher on the central incisors (front two teeth), lower on the lateral incisors (smaller two side teeth), and higher again on the upper canines, or eye-teeth. The left and right sides should be a mirror image of each other. Gum height around teeth can cause even straight teeth to look wrong. Gummy smiles can be improved with gum recontouring.


The teeth themselves should generally follow the lip line from left to right. They should be proportional to each other and themselves. Most often, a length to width ratio of 1.6:1 is desirable. Adjacent teeth also follow a similar proportional ratio when viewed straight on. If individual teeth are too long, wide, not in proportion to each other, or not mirror images left to right, esthetic problems result.

ideal teeth alignment

Analyzing Your Smile at Home

Dr. Singer has extensive experience and education is cosmetic dentistry, so he can analyze not just the way your teeth look, but how the bones in your face are influencing and hindering the appearance of your smile. But before your in-depth analysis with Dr. Singer, you can nail down the things about your smile you do not like.Look at yourself in the mirror and smile. If you notice one or more of the following characteristics, you are a good candidate for a smile makeover at our cosmetic dentistry practice:

  • Are your teeth white, or are they yellow, dark and stained?
  • Are there gaps between your teeth?
  • Do you have missing teeth?
  • Are your teeth crooked, uneven or rotated?
  • Do the biting edges of your upper teeth follow the curvature of your upper lip?
  • Are any of your teeth too short, small, square or large?
  • Are the edges of your teeth even or are there teeth that are too long or short?
  • Do your teeth (as a group) slant one way or another?
  • Is the midline of your two front teeth in line with your face and nose?
  • Are the edges of your canine teeth too long, sharp or are they out of line?
  • Are any of the biting edges of your teeth chipped or worn?
  • Do you have an overly gummy smile in which too much gum tissue shows?
  • Are your gums even, in line and symmetrical, or are they irregularly shaped? Are your gums higher on some teeth and lower on others?
  • Are your gums receding, red or puffy?
  • Do you have any unsightly metal dental fillings?
  • Do you have any old dental crowns that have dark edges at the gum line?

To better understand how DC Smiles can help you achieve the results you’ll love, heres a way to analyze your smile at home: Stand in front of a mirror and smile at yourself using your normal smile. Next, look at the mirror and think of a humorous moment in your life and give a big, laughing smile. This big smile is probably a much larger smile than you feel comfortable using much of the time if you are not happy with your teeth. When your smile is improved, however, your big smile will appear much more spontaneously because you look (and feel) great!

A Comprehensive Smile Makeover with Dr. Singer

Smile analysis and smile design are key elements of diagnosis and treatment planning. At DC Smiles, advanced technology and an artistic flair allows Dr. Singer to measure dynamic lip-tooth relationships. Digital photos and videography is particularly useful in both smile analysis and in effective doctor/patient communication. Smile design is a multifaceted process, with clinical success determined by a mutual understanding of the patients soft-tissue treatment limitations and the extent to which orthodontic or cosmetic treatment can satisfy the patients esthetic goals. Dr. Singer carefully communicates these limitations and addresses patient expectations so that the results are most desirable.

There are two basic types of smiles, the Social Smile and the Enjoyment Smile. Each type involves a different anatomic presentation of the elements of your smile. The social smile is a voluntary, unstrained facial expression, such as when you smile for a camera or greet a friend. The lips part due to moderate muscular contraction of the lip muscles, and the teeth and sometimes the gums are displayed.

The Enjoyment Smile, or laughter, is voluntary. It results from maximum contraction of the upper and lower lip muscles. This causes the lips to open their widest and exposes a maximum amount of tooth and gum tissue. Dr. Singer will work to understand the different ways you smile so that he can recommend the best treatment plan for your individual cosmetic needs. Dr. Singer also assesses tongue posture and lip function, particularly during speech. Improper function or unfavorable tongue posture can easily be detected when you know the appropriate proportions and characteristics you’re looking for.