The Three Types of Smile Designs in the Digital Workflow


Dr. Diogo Alves (Head Instructor) 

Tatiana Mendoza (Marketing Manager)

Digital Workflow

A digital treatment plan approach is reshaping the way cosmetic and restorative dentistry is being performed. The digital workflow is adding precision to obtain optimal esthetics while restoring form and function.

DSDApp is an essential part of the digital workflow because you use one of modern dentistry’s most patient-centric approaches, Digital Smile Design, to enhance the diagnostic for each patient that comes through the doors. It allows you to assess each patient individually based on their facial and dental structures. With DSDApp you get closer to finding out the final esthetic results more accurately and efficiently. 

We’ve classified three different types of smile designs in the digital workflow for you to consider in the treatment planning process.

Motivational Smile Design

After conducting the anamnesis exam, you start your motivational smile simulation with the goal of engaging the patient in the conversation of a smile makeover. Many of our users do it during the first appointment. All it takes is a front-face smile photo to start creating the smile design. This motivational smile design should take about five minutes to create while the patient is still chairside. 

Oftentimes we compare it to a sketch. It’s an easy and effective way to learn about the patient’s likes and dislikes, pay attention to their wishes, and current pain points. The visual outcome of the motivational smile design is presented using the before and after tool in the app to demonstrate the difference in the facial esthetics. It’s an impactful and very exciting moment for the patient.   

How do you create it?

Watch this video to watch a step-by-step on how to create a motivational smile design.

Advanced Smile Design

While a motivational smile simulation allows you to engage the patient in a potential smile makeover, an advanced smile simulation empowers you to design accurately using your diagnostics from the examinations and the patient’s facial and dental structures to create natural orofacial harmony. Moreover, it allows you to better explain the treatment options to your patient. 

When creating this advanced smile design, some points should be taken into consideration from your clinical and complementary exams:

During the extraoral examination, it’s important to examine the patient’s facial structures, the smile line and its joints. Analyze factors such as muscle changes, nose and irregular jaw movements. Additionally, a short interview video of the patient talking, smiling, and quoting phonetic letters is used to analyze the patient’s lip movement and gingival biotype.

In the intraoral examination, factors such as occlusion of the patient, overjet, overbite, laterality and protrusion guides, buccal corridor, the position of the current dental midline and teeth in the arch, the quality of gingival health, and other essential notes should also be evaluated.

Complementary diagnostic services such as a full mouth series, an upper and lower intraoral scan (allows you to produce accurate images that contribute to restorations), and a CBCT (utilized for evaluation of biotype by measuring hard and soft tissue thickness and height as well as bone structures) are also highly recommended to determine what the best treatment option is for the patient.

When you combine these analyses with DSDApp you truly begin to use the app to its maximum potential because when you create the advanced 2D smile simulation, you are not only increasing the likelihood of predictable esthetic results but you are also allowing yourself to better educate your patient on the current state of their oral health.

By using a digital multidisciplinary reverse treatment plan you are able to create a 2-Dimensional smile simulation using the patient’s front-face photo and the patient’s intraoral scan where you can share the design and files with your dental laboratory.

How do you create it?

Watch this video to watch a step-by-step on how to create a technical smile design.

3D Smile Design

Working with a 3D design reduces the margin of error. It allows you to print your patient’s digital mock-ups so they can take their smiles for a test-drive. 

When do you work with a 3D design?

Motivational mockup –  A smile makeover is both an emotional and practical decision. That’s why printing a digital mockup for your patient to conduct a smile-test drive really is where cosmetic dentistry is headed. It’s when you transform that 2-Dimensional smile design into a 3D reality where you truly create an emotional connection for your patient and that’s where you create great value.

And how does DSDApp assist in the emotional dentistry approach? By providing patients with a real-life impactful view of their future smile. Seeing the difference that treatment could make allows patients to make an emotional investment, which will increase the case acceptance and validate the financial investment in the treatment plan.

Ideal mockup –  Here a 3D model is used to assist in treatment planning and also used as a guide for the clinical procedures. It shows the patient the final outcome of the treatment while supporting the need to go through a multidisciplinary treatment plan to reach the esthetic results. This improves communication with other specialties in dentistry such as orthodontics, periodontics, and prosthodontics.

Designing the virtual esthetic mounting in DSDAPP (3D mockup design) allows you to use the smile design based on the patient’s facial structure which guarantees you more harmony in the smile process than when compared to mounting analogically where you lose the orofacial combination which can impair the harmony of the smile with the face.

Finally, when the 3D design is done in DSDApp, the cost of the laboratory decreases, the number of visits decreases, and if there is a need to change the esthetic of the smile, the dentist can re-adjust the work in the application and re-print the new template in-house.

How do you create it?

Watch this video to watch a step-by-step on how to create a 3D design.


In today’s day and age, we highly encourage digitizing all your patients with DSDApp and other digital tools because there’s immense value in doing so. You open the door to new opportunities when you’re able to use visualization methods to educate your patient and explain treatment goals in a more efficient and effective manner. With minimal restoration procedures and more precise outcomes for the final restoration you yield a happy dentist (you) and a satisfied patient.  

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