Five Perceptual Skills of Drawing Cosmetic Dentists Need to Master

December 28, 2018 by Dana J. Murn, CAE

By Jerome Cha, DDS, AAACD

If we are trying to create dental restorations that mimic nature, we need to be able to perceive and identify the characteristics nature presents.  Learning to draw is a very effective and efficient way to enhance our perception.   

"If we are trying to create dental restorations that mimic nature, we need to be able to perceive and identify the characteristics nature presents."

Here are five perceptual skills cosmetic dentists need to master: 

  1. Perception of edges. This means being able to see lines, curves, and contours and their relation to each other. In dentistry, this relates to smile lines, the incisal planes and the midlines. 
     

  2. Negative spaces. This means being able to see the spaces around the main objects, or negative space. In dentistry, this relates to recognizing the incisal embrasures, emergence profiles and visualizing the gingival architecture. 

    Photo courtesy of Saiesha Mistry BDS, MSc, AAACD

  3. Perspective. This means being able to see how the image appears depending on the distance and the angle of the viewer. In dentistry, this relates to principles of golden proportion in smile design and the buccal corridor design. 

     

  4. Perception of lights and shadows. This means being able to see the lightness and darkness. In dentistry, this relates to the value or the gray scale of the tooth. 

     

  5. Perception of the whole. This refers to the emotional response you are trying to trigger from your drawing. It can be sadness, happiness, mysterious or combination of emotions. In dentistry, this relates to trying to create a feminine smile or a masculine smile, a youthful or a mature smile, or a smile that fits the patient’s personality.

For more information and drawing exercises to improve your perception, watch this course.



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