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What does your smile say about you? The art of smiling is one of the first actions we learn after we are born. We learn how to cry, then smile, followed by laughter and happiness. As we enter school, smiling for pictures becomes an annual event; an event that generally occurs sometime in September. Yes, the time has come for school pictures and if they haven’t already, your students will be bringing home packets for you to choose poses and backgrounds. One thing that cannot be chosen is their smile. Each child has a smile that is unique to them; have you noticed it? Their smile conveys an individual personality, thoughts and sometimes, their annoyance with having their picture taken. We have all seen, and probably have some of our own, the “just take the picture already” smiles in our school portraits. Did you know these smiles actually have a name? More often than not, they are Duchene, or fake smiles.

There are over 50 different types of smiles we show the world at relevant times. We’re only going to look at a few of them for simplicity’s sake. First there is the tight lips smile. This smile is not always authentic, as it’s easy to hide our true emotion behind the smile. Often, we see this smile in those school pictures when the students really aren’t happy or excited to have their picture taken. Next is the smug smile, characterized by lips pressed together with only one side of the mouth lifting in a halfway curve. This smile exudes arrogance or self-satisfaction, as can be gathered from its descriptive name. One of the most confusing smile types is the half smile. It can show shyness, happiness, discomfort, tiredness, or even sadness. This smile does not show teeth and is a softer version of the tight-lipped smile. Finally we have the genuine, eye crinkling, teeth showing smile. This smile can be open-mouthed or not, but generally it exudes happy emotion, making everyone smile in return. (Study-Body-Language.com).

Smile aesthetics also play a role in how we read and understand different smiles. A great article released in Portland Monthly Magazine’s Health section described the anatomy of the smile by breaking it down into eight attributes: how many teeth are shown, smile symmetry, tooth shape, the amount of gum showing, how much “negative space” shows, the shade of the teeth, the space between teeth, and the overall curve of the smile. The right amount of all these attributes creates the scientific version of a “perfect smile.”

Whether your student is preparing for school picture day, or it’s time for the biannual family check-ups, Smiles Dental is here to help! We see each individual smile as unique and beautiful; our aim is to provide the ultimate in dental services so you have a reason to love your smile. We offer cosmetic dentistry such as porcelain veneers and dental implants to help you achieve the smile you are hoping for. Our team also recommends visiting the dentist for regular cleanings and exams at least every six months. These regular dental check-ups are the key to helping maintain your smile and your health throughout your life. For more information about Smiles Dental’s locations and services, visit http://welovesmiles.com/.

Sources:

Portland Monthly Magazine. “Smile Science: The Anatomy of a Smile.” 19 August 2011. Edited by Kasey Cordell. Viewed 15 September 2014. http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/health-and-fitness/articles/anatomy-of-a-smile-september-2011

Study Body Language. “Types of Smiling Faces.” Viewed 15 September 2014. http://www.study-body-language.com/smiling-faces.html