Attractiveness vs Perfection

By Phil / February 29th, 2012

Can we define the perfect smile? Absolutely. Countless scientific studies have been done to quantify and qualify smile design to the most minute detail. We know where the middle of the smile should be, we know what the proportion s of the teeth should be, we know what shape the spaces between the edges of the teeth should be. We can even apply Ancient Greek proportion theory to the widths of the front teeth as viewed from the front. The science of the perfect smile. We’ve got it nailed. There have been textbooks devoted to this subject.

Can we define the perfect face? Absolutely. Countless scientific studies etc. etc. Symmetry is the name of the game. Symmetry and proportions. Even babies know this. Babies eyes are drawn more towards smooth, round, symmetrical faces than rough, asymmetric ones. This has been proven. I, for one, do not have a symmetric face. I have one eye higher than the other, and ear and eyebrow for that matter. But I can always tilt my head slightly and fool you all…!

Can we define attractiveness? What happens if we put a textbook perfect smile in an imperfectly (albeit attractive) symmetric face? The human race is diverse. We do not all look the same – that would be decidedly unattractive. In fact, imagine a world where everyone was symmetric and had perfect text-book smiles. I think the quirky asymmetries would become the desirables. We want to be the same. We are social beings. We want to belong. Yet we yearn to be individual and recognised for our uniqueness. A contradiction?

Despite the influence of Hollywood and the call of the popular media for us all to strive to be ‘perfect’, the trend towards healthy, natural, youthful smiles is emerging. More people are straightening their teeth than crowning them. More people are whitening or at least asking for their crowns and fillings to match. More people are aware that healthy gums help you maintain a healthy body as well as looking better. We are designed by evolution to be attracted towards health and away from disease. That makes sense. Healthy is attractive and we can strive to be healthier, and as a result will look healthier. A healthy glow! A healthy smile!

Health is the new wealth. And attractiveness has limits of social acceptance but does not equal perfection. Very few of us can get near perfection (as defined by who?) but all of us have attractive qualities. We are social beings. We want to belong. We are allowed to be different.


Dr Elaine Halley, Cosmetic Dentist and owner of Cherrybank Dental Spas

Last updated May 2nd, 2018