Although all your teeth matter when it comes to chewing, and all contribute somewhat to the appearance of your smile, there are actually six teeth that matter more than the others when it comes to creating an attractive appearance for your smile. Understanding what they are and how they create an attractive appearance might help you understand what a cosmetic dentist in Hilton Head can do for you.

Maxillary Central Incisors

closeup of a pretty woman's smileThe two largest teeth in your mouth–in terms of visible surface area–are your maxillary central incisors. They’re called incisors because their job is to incise (cut) food, and maxillary because that refers to the upper jaw, called the maxilla.

These teeth have the important job of establishing most of the aesthetics of your smile. Since these are the teeth that show the most surface area and are the most front and center, they establish the color of your smile. If teeth whitening doesn’t work on either of these teeth, you will probably need to find an alternate solution such as porcelain veneers.

The central incisors also establish the midline of your smile, hopefully lining up with the facial midline. The shape of these incisors helps to establish the character of your smile. Square central incisors convey a strong, aggressive appearance while rounding off the central incisors makes a more friendly appearance. So when it comes to rounded teeth vs square teeth, it’s more attractive to have rounded teeth.

Maxillary Lateral Incisors

These incisors are called lateral because they are off to the sides of your central incisors. These teeth help create the appearance of your smile through their relative proportions in comparison with the central incisors. The upper lateral incisors should be narrower than the central, but not too much narrower. When the lateral incisor teeth are shorter than the central incisors, it conveys an attractive youthful appearance–with age, our teeth tend to wear down to the same height.

Unfortunately, after wisdom teeth, lateral incisors are the teeth that are most likely to be congenitally absent.

Maxillary Canines

The canines are teeth that, in other mammals, tend to be very fanglike. In people, they can be very sharp as well, or they can be softer, more rounded. Like the central incisors, the shape of the canines helps convey a more aggressive appearance, while rounded canines lead to a welcoming, compassionate look.

Canines also perform the functional role of providing support to the jaw. They are likely one of the biggest contributors to facial aging. If you wear down your canines, your facial structure is more likely to collapse. This means that maxillary canines are often a major target when we’re performing a nonsurgical facelift.

The Teeth No One Sees: Premolars and Molars

If you’re wondering which teeth don’t matter for your smile, it’s your premolars and molars. There are eight premolars that rest next to your canines and 12 molars that rest next to your premolars. The baby molars are replaced with premolars. Premolars are larger than incisors and canines. Their ridges and flat surface crush food into small pieces.

Although these don’t show when you smile, your molars are the strongest teeth with the largest surface and they’re there to help you break food into small pieces to help you swallow. Not everyone has 12 molars though. The last set of 4 (known as third molars) are your wisdom teeth and often grow between ages 17 and 25. Most people either have impacted wisdom teeth or not enough room in their mouth to accommodate them. As a result, they’re usually extracted. There are some lucky individuals who don’t ever get their wisdom teeth though.

You usually don’t have to worry about the appearance of your premolars and molars because they often don’t show when you smile. However, if you do happen to get tooth decay or need a root canal, we recommend tooth-colored fillings and porcelain dental crowns to maintain the most natural appearance possible. That way, if your back teeth do show when you’re laughing or smiling, your smile will still look natural and beautiful.

Enhance Your Smile in Hilton Head

When you smile, if you’re unhappy with the appearance of your teeth that show, our cosmetic dentists in Hilton Head can help. Whether you have a square smile, stained teeth, or any other problems, we offer solutions that can help you achieve your ideal smile. If you would like to learn more about how these and other teeth contribute to an attractive appearance, please call (843) 706-2999 for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist in the Hilton Head area.