La Habra Office : 562-690-1199
Chino Hills Office : 909-393-9911

2250 West Whittier Blvd. Suite 200, La Habra, CA 90631

15944 Los Serranos Country Club Dr #100, Chino Hills, CA 91709


Why Are Those Braces Placed So Close To The Gums?

ideal smile arcLa Habra/Chino Hills, CA – Gire Orthodontics is an orthodontic office dedicated to providing the highest level of orthodontic care to its patients. For that reason, you may see Gire Orthodontics patients with braces placed slightly higher than average. But why is that?

“We want to ensure that all of our patients end treatment with beautiful, perfectly formed smiles that fit the face well,” says Dr. Robert Gire. “The proper placement of the brackets is key to providing the proper smile arc. This smile arc is our ultimate goal and we achieve that with brackets that are placed a bit higher than what most people are accustomed to.”

The smile arc is defined as the relationship between the curvature of the incisal edges of maxillary incisors and canines (upper front six teeth) to the curvature of the lower lip in a full, natural smile. That means that the smile isn’t dependent solely on the teeth, but also in the lips’ relationship to the teeth. When an orthodontist is analyzing a smile, he or she should be looking for the amount of incisors and gum tissue that can be seen, as well as the transverse dimension of the smile. The smile should appear full, curved, and not flat.

When a patient is undergoing orthodontic treatment, the goal is a healthy functioning smile that will be more attractive. Smiles that achieve the ideal smile arc are considered to be more attractive and youthful. But where the braces are placed can impact the curvature of the smile.

“The placement of the brackets depends on the smile arc of the patient,” says Dr. Gire. “The ideal smile arc is when the edges of the top teeth follow the curve of the lower lip. To achieve this, we place the brackets slightly higher and with a gradual, natural step in heights. This may be something that you may not be used to seeing, but the higher bracket placement guarantees the integrity of the smile arc.”

brackets placementThe concept of the smile arc is not a new one, however, not all orthodontists are as dedicated to ensuring the ideal smile arc is provided once treatment is complete. Some studies have shown that orthodontically treated patients can end up with flatter smile arcs than non-treated patients. This can be for a few reasons, including:

  • Attempting to correct an overbite or gummy smile without also considering the relationship between the incisor and lip while at rest.
  • The use of extra-oral forces, such as elastics or those that undergo orthognathic surgery, cant the maxillary occlusal plane upward, which will then move the upper incisal edges away from the lower lip.
  • Incorrect bracket positioning, defined as positioning that does not take into account the current smile arc of the individual patient.

“Achieving the ideal smile arc should be individualized for each patient,” says Dr. Gire. “We cannot use the exact same bracket positioning with every patient, just as we cannot use the same exact treatment plan with every patient. Each treatment plan MUST be customized for each patient because each smile is as unique as a fingerprint. My primary goal is to not only get the teeth straight, but I want that natural smile arc to be preserved or created, and I want the patient’s face to frame that smile. There’s a lot of moving parts and there’s no way this can be a cookie-cutter type of treatment.”

When seeking orthodontic treatment, be sure you are receiving care from a well-trained, board certified orthodontist, who is committed to ensuring every patient receives individualized treatment plans and customized care. To learn more about how Dr. Gire dedicates his efforts to creating the ideal smile arc for his patients, call for your complimentary consultation today: Gire Orthodontics of La Habra, 562-690-1199 or Gire Orthodontics of Chino Hills, 909-393-9911.