Veneers are a popular choice among dental patients, and they offer great benefits over other cosmetic options thanks to their less-invasive nature and fast recovery timeline. We get lots of questions from our patients about them, and we’ve found that the biggest ‘big question’ that comes up isn’t usually a health question— it’s a matter of aesthetics!
Veneers come in a variety of styles and shapes, and choosing the right veneers for your face shape can be an art-form. It always helps to discuss it with Dr. Halsema in person, but there’s still a lot you can learn online. In this article we’ll cover the big details, so you can go to your next appointment with the confidence you need.
Making Sense of Veneer Profiles
Most veneers use variants of the veneer profiles described in the Smile Catalog published by the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. Sadly, the names of these profiles aren’t that accessible for patients — after all, what does “focused” or “vigorous” mean when it comes to cosmetic dentistry?
Broadly speaking, veneer profiles have four critical aspects:
Profiles with wide, regular, and sharp teeth tend to have more aggressive or masculine sounding names, like the two profiles mentioned above. Meanwhile, profiles with rounder, and slightly less regular, teeth have names like “youthful” or “softened.” There’s an overall theme to it, but it’s important to keep the profile names from biasing your opinion.
Thankfully, matching a profile to your face shape is relatively easy; it’s all about sizing and silhouette.
Finding the Ideal Size: Picking the Right Length and Width
The sizing of your veneers should either build upon or counterbalance your face shape. This is why rounder faces pair well with longer veneers, while heart shaped faces pair better with shorter veneers. This also explains why longer face shapes pair poorly with long veneers and broader face shapes pair poorly with wide veneers. It’s all about balance.
There isn’t an easy reference table for picking the right length and width for your veneers. Instead, it’s best to find photos of people with veneers who have similar face shapes to your own. This makes it easier to put the relative size of each veneer profile into the right context.
Finding the Ideal Silhouette: Picking the Right Sharpness and Regularity
The silhouette of your veneers tends to be subtle, but it can have a multiplicative effect on the overall aesthetic effect of your veneers.
Just as the length and width of your veneers can synergize with your face shape, the sharpness and regularity of them can amplify or mitigate that synergy. Rounded wide teeth don’t look as wide as square wide teeth, while pointy long teeth tend to look even longer. Similarly, round, square, or pointy teeth will look even more round/more square/more pointy at either end of the regularity spectrum.
It’s worth noting that overly sharp or regular veneers can look unnatural. If you’re not sure about the best sizing for your veneers, don’t compound the issue by picking a sharp and regular silhouette. Unnoticeable is a better target than perfect in this case.
How to Determine Your Face Shape
Of course, this information is only useful if you can confidently identify your face shape — and that can be a lot harder than it sounds. To make the process easier, here are some tips:
Your face shape is, more accurately, your overall head shape; it’s influenced by your neck, jaw, hairline, and ears. The best way to put all of these factors together is to draw or otherwise overlay the combined shape. You can do this by taking a picture, or by tracing your reflection in the mirror with a dry erase marker.
If these approaches produce indeterminate results, don’t worry; there’s a third variant that often works. Instead of trying to determine your face shape straight-on, take a picture of yourself in a ¾ pose. Finding the right shape at an angle can be a bit tricky, but it tends to produce consistent and reliable results.
When in Doubt, Talk to Your Dentist
If this process sound stressful, or you’re struggling to pin down the right combination of veneer profiles and face shapes, don’t despair. Cosmetic dentists like Dr. Halsema have the right tools and experience necessary to help you figure it out. Seeing pictures of veneers and face shapes online isn’t the same as seeing examples in-person, with the feedback of a practiced dental professional.