Since its launch, this quickly became an iconic photo in the fashion and advertising world. Taken by famous photographer Martin Parr, the close-up image of Dani Miller’s smile is one of four eighties-style adverts for a Gucci lipstick campaign.
Why did this specific image draw so much attention?
Well, Dani Miller has large gaps between her centrals and canines. In a world where fashion houses have a tradition of using supermodels with ‘perfect’ teeth, this certainly drew attention. While there was negative commentary about the campaign images on social media, many have also voiced their support.
This has led to discussions about what makes a perfect smile; is it perfectly aligned teeth, or having health and confidence or a combination of both? What’s the difference between a confident vs a perfect smile?
So, what can this ad campaign tell us as dentists about modern dentistry and what patients are looking for? The answer is: more than you may think. The key is confidence.
Digital Smile Design is all about restoring health AND confidence to a patient’s smile. It’s not about a uniform smile that represents perfection; Digital Smile Design is an innovation in modern dentistry that embraces a patient’s unique features to create the smile that is 'perfect' for them.
We asked DSD Founder and CEO, Christian Coachman to share his thoughts on this.
Is this campaign a threat to cosmetic dentistry?
Christian Coachman: “This campaign is not a threat at all! The great thing about this campaign is that it actually promotes the status of a smile and by extension, the dental profession!”
As a dentist, what was your first response to these adverts?
Christian Coachman: “My first response was: wow, that’s brave and liberating! Which are two things that I admire in people. Encouraging acceptance is so important and this campaign shows how we should place less value on superficial esthetics.
Also, for me it’s very important that a smile is not about the mouth, but about the face. The images in the campaign use a combination of close-up photos and others showing the model’s entire face alongside video footage; to fully understand the mechanics of a confident smile you need to see the whole face when smiling, and in motion. That’s the magic.”
The Gucci campaign slogan is: 'authentic beauty lies in imperfection’, how does this relate to what you do at DSD?
Christian Coachman: “It totally resonates with the DSD ethos! Digital Smile Design is all about health and confidence, not perfect symmetry or perfect esthetics. It’s about the perfect imperfections of nature and reconnecting with that.
"In fact, I have always been concerned that esthetic dentistry is heading in a dangerous direction where dentists are losing their connection with nature and starting to believe that artificial-looking smiles are more beautiful than natural smiles.
"Our concepts and techniques such as Smile Donator and Natural Algorithms are focused on moving modern dentistry back to what really matters and when it comes to esthetics, we use natural smiles and nature as our inspiration. The technology that we’ve been developing enables us to do this and allows natural beauty to become more affordable to all.
"And, by copy and pasting nature into our new designs, we are re-learning natural esthetics, and falling in love with nature again! That’s about appreciating all imperfections, accepting the differences, customizing smiles and using infinite libraries of natural dentition to fabricate our modern restorations.”
“Digital Smile Design is all about health and confidence, not perfect symmetry or perfect esthetics”
So what is the difference between self-acceptance and improving your appearance?
Christian Coachman: “The line between self-acceptance and improving your appearance is a tough one to quantify and it can be a really thin line, one which can only be determined by each individual. And I think we shouldn’t judge in either direction.
What makes you comfortable is up to you. Of course, it’s important to emphasize the need to always protect your health as well, not esthetics.
That said, people care about what others think of them and their appearance and that is usually the problem. So, the problem is not how your smile looks but how much do you worry about what others think about your smile? Are you making changes to yourself because it is good for you or just because you want to fit into a certain socially suggested standard?!
As humans, caring a little less about what people think and conforming to invented standards can be a positive thing, in my humble opinion.”
How can dentists have this conversation with patients on this topic in an ethical way?
Christian Coachman: “The conversation with patients about this should be based on the principle of self acceptance and wanting to change your appearance for the right reasons.
Dentists are there to help re-establish heath and confidence. Nothing more. If esthetic issues are a problem for the patient and affecting their confidence, then you should take care of it. But my advice for any smile restoration patient is always to do it for themselves and learn to enjoy the fact that everybody is different. Beauty is a much more profound characteristic than just superficial esthetic principles.”
What does the self-love movement mean for dentistry?
Christian Coachman: “I believe it gives DSD dentists an ideal opportunity to differentiate themselves from other cosmetic dentists. Having Digital Smile Design as a flagship of this trend makes me very proud!. We support difference, acceptance and natural beauty beyond esthetics. We champion confidence, dental health and beauty that comes from the soul.”
“We support difference, acceptance and natural beauty beyond esthetics. We champion confidence, dental health and beauty that comes from the soul ”
How is DSD leading the way with Emotional Dentistry?
Christian Coachman: “Digital Smile Design isn’t about giving every patient the same result. It’s about creating a unique smile that suits a patient’s features and delivers confidence and health for their unique circumstances.
Emotional dentistry is a great facet of this; showing the patient what their individual smile can look like and how it can be restored.
"Thanks to Digital Smile Design, patients are not limited to the traditional norms of what is considered an attractive smile! We can enable patients to break free, be happy and truly accept their own smiles. This innovative process enables a smile design that changes the aspects that bother the patient and keeps what makes them unique.
"A smile is like a universal language and represents such a big part of who we are, so it’s great to see this topic in the media and talked about to this extent.”
Learn more about smile design in modern cosmetic dentistry
Explore the topic of facial design and smile analysis on our DSD video-streaming platform, WatchDSD.
You’ll find interviews, roundtable discussions and premium lecture content from Christian Coachman to help you polish your skills and know-how and deliver a natural-looking, confident smile, consistently and stress free, for every patient.
Ready to start watching? Find out more about WatchDSD.