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Dentists, Designing Digital Smiles Today

Written by DTC Miami

Created 11/07/2018

The field of dentistry is quickly changing as technology continues to offer more accurate dental solutions for patients. Roles and duties in dentistry are evolving to address the needs of patient’s oral health and dental aesthetic appearance. Digital smile design is a concept that has impacted dentistry in the last 10 years.


What is Digital Smile Design?

This concept of Digital Smile Design is also known as ‘DSD’. While the name DSD is self-explanatory, the ability to design a smile digitally. DSD is more than that. According to the article, Digital Smile Design: A Tool for Treatment Planning and Communication in Esthetic Dentistry, “The Digital Smile Design (DSD) is a multi-use conceptual tool that can strengthen diagnostic vision, improve communication, and enhance predictability throughout treatment.” (Drs. Coachmen & Calamita). DSD aids dentists beyond digitally designing a smile. Often times dentists see their patients multiple times to continue analyzing what type of treatment is best, how to proceed with treatment and many other revisionary aspects. DSD permits dentists to have multiple perspectives on how to address a patient’s oral health and how the smile plays an aesthetic role on the completeness of the face.


Why use DSD?

DSD is a tool created to assist dentists in providing astounding smiles that are healthy and compatible with the patient’s appearance. DSD has many useful features like meticulous analysis, widen diagnostic visualization, multi-platform use, restorative evaluation, and teamwork accessible.

  • Meticulous Analysis

    • Patients Facial and Dental Characteristics  

Many aspects of a patient’s’ smile can be subtle and undetected. According to Dr. Coachmen and Dr. Calamita, “[With DSD, dentists obsevere with great detail] the patient’s facial and dental characteristics along with any critical factors that may have been overlooked during clinical, photographic, or diagnostic cast–based evaluation procedures.”(2). This is where technology has expanded the roles and duties of dentists by including the concept of a smile designed to compliment all of the patients facial components.

  • Visual Diagnosis and Restorative Evaluation

    • Limitations and Risks

DSD allows dentist to visualize the smile they are designing. Dentists can determine what actions will create the smile the patient desires and what limits and risks there are for each action. Dr. Coachmen explains,

“The drawing of reference lines and shapes over extra- and intraoral digital photographs in a predetermined sequence can widen diagnostic visualization and help the restorative team evaluate the limitations and risk factors of a given case, including asymmetries, disharmonies, and violations of esthetic principles.”(3).  

Using this feature, promotes better dentistry because mistakes and expenses are reduced.

  • Multi-platform use

    • DSD can be used on “Keynote (iWork, Apple, Cupertino, California, USA) or Microsoft PowerPoint (Microsoft Office, Microsoft, Redmond,Washington, USA)” (4).

DSD’s accessibility is a benefit for dentists with either of these computer systems.

  • Teamwork Accessible

    • DSD can be accessed by all team members who assist in designing the patients smile.

Each team member can participate in the creation of the patient’s smile which assists in more precise preparations for when procedures are done.


DSD, digital smile design is an innovating system that is attracting dental professionals attention worldwide. As many of us know, technology is impacting our careers and advancing how we execute dentistry. This rapid overtake of digitization can be startling and astonishing, but technology enhances our duties to our patients and the way we achieve very high caliber oral care.