Planning Where The Pink Should Be

July 8, 2019 Lee Ann Brady DMD

When we identify patients, whose dental esthetics has been negatively impacted by altered passive eruption, our treatment plans are apt to include altering the gingival esthetics. One of the things we are tasked with is determining where we want the tissue to be.

We start by determining if the incisal edge is correctly positioned in the face.

For example, by looking at a lips at rest photograph and a full face image for my patient with altered passive eruption, we can see that the patient’s incisal edges are correctly positioned. If they were not properly positioned, we would next plan the position for the incisal edges.

Tooth proportion becomes the next building block in the planning puzzle. We know that beautiful anterior teeth are usually between 70-80% width to length ratio. This variability allows us to accommodate other clinical considerations, as well as patient preference. As a starting point, I begin with 75% and then look at the other parameters.

If the patient has excessive gingival display, and one of the hoped for outcomes is to minimize the amount of gingiva, we can alter the drawing to increase the length and then evaluate the esthetic result.  On the other hand, if there is excessive sulcus depth, we can place the proposed gingival margin within the confines of the sulcus and assess the esthetic result.


Patient Involvement

I create template drawings, like the one below, in Keynote on my Mac computer, but drawings also can be done in PowerPoint. I then sit down with my patient, insert a retracted teeth apart patient photo behind the drawing, and together we move the lines until the patient is happy with where the pink will be.


Once we have the final proposal, the next step is to determine the possible treatment options to gain the intended result. The information can easily be transferred to a wax-up or used to create a snap on trial smile.

How to Create and Use Templates

In Keynote or PowerPoint, take a retracted teeth apart photo of a beautiful, near perfect smile. Put it into the presentation software. Blow the image up to 200%. Using the free form drawing tool, trace the outline of the upper six anteriors. Take the photo out and save the presentation as a named template.key or template.ppt file.

When you want to do proposal drawings with your patient, open up the template, insert the patient’s photo and save the file with the patient’s name. You can copy and paste the tooth outlines onto any of the patient’s photos to propose gingival changes. If you pre-draw and save outline templates for various tooth sizes (ratios), you can quickly show options to your patient.

Related Course

E2: Occlusal Appliances & Equilibration

DATE: March 23 2025 @ 8:00 am - March 27 2025 @ 2:30 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute


Dentist Tuition: $ 7400

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 345

What if you had one tool that increased comprehensive case acceptance, managed patients with moderate to high functional risk, verified centric relation and treated signs and symptoms of TMD? Appliance…

Learn More>

About Author

User Image
Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.