Why is the Golden Proportion important in Cosmetic Dentistry?
Abstract: The “Golden Proportion” is a concept of harmony to provide beauty. Several examples are often cited although since “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” it is difficult to use a potentially mathematical proportion to determine an individual’s definition of beauty.
What is the Golden proportion?
The Golden Ratio is the ratio for length to width of rectangles is 1:1.618 or “phi” (named after the Greek sculptor Phidias) and has been considered the most pleasing to the eye, the ratio was named by the golden ratio by the Greeks, the Golden proportion is the same thing.
So, for example, if you wanted to choose a rectangle that was the most aesthetically pleasing, , what would you choose? Strangely (or maybe not) the ubiquitous credit card is designed to be a representation of the Golden Proportion.
Now whether it was done deliberately or because it was a pleasingly aesthetic dimension, or simply to fit into your wallet, we may never know.
There are many other designs based or reflecting this proportion too.
Much has been written on the Golden proportion and while there is no scientific evidence it does make a good read and is is definitely worthwhile if you’re interested in mathematics or aesthetics.
One very famous painting, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, was drawn according to the golden ratio.
How is this used in dental capping (crowns and veneers)?
The Golden Proportion is frequently used by cosmetic dentists to proportion (length to width) the central (upper front) two incisors. and then the adjacent teeth. In fact, there are dentists who advertise this as a dental service itself !
Is the Golden Proportion ratio and tooth shape related?
Well as with many things, there is truth in it, although there is no scientific proof. At the time I was practicing member of the AACD, (American Academy of Cosmetic dentistry) it was “all the “rage” and dentists even used gauges that helped “smile design” by setting the ratios throughout the front “smiling teeth”.
I felt that sometimes the incisors could look a little long if that was the only consideration used. Now having said that, just like Di Vinci’s Mona Lisa, (and other paintings of course) it is affected by many other factors, including frame influences, type, shape, colour, etc.
So, to talk about teeth without considering lips and other facial factors does seem a little short-sighted. Having said that, the Golden proportion is not a bad “guide” or starting point and generally, from an aesthetic standpoint, most teeth that are crowned for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons are worn and therefore usually shorter than ideal.
Is there a connection between Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio?
There seems to be, in that these are two seemingly unrelated findings which produce the same exact number. Considering that this number (or Golden Ratio) is irrational, the occurrence is certainly interesting. Incidentally in contrast to a rational number, an irrational number can be written as a decimal, but not as a fraction.
An irrational number has endless non-repeating digits to the right of the decimal point.
‘It’s perhaps more accurate to phrase the question as “how are Fibonacci numbers, also known as the Fibonacci sequence, related to the golden ratio?” Either way, the answer is this:
The ratio of each successive pair of numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence converge on the golden ratio as you go higher in the sequence.
The Fibonacci sequence is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, etc., with each number being the sum of the previous two.’
Now unless you’re a mathematician, all you’ll want to know is,
Should my teeth be crowned or veneered to the Golden Proportion?
The answer is (you knew this was coming) – maybe. In my opinion, “smile design” should ideally be based on your age, facial proportions, lips, how many teeth are being treated, the width of the dental arch, your desires, etc. With “smile design” the Golden Proportion is as good a place as any to start as any.
How do I know when my crowns or veneers are right?
The answer to this is when you love the way they look, although if you want to ask a friend (or loved one) and they do too, that can often have some influence. Don’t forget however that teeth may make an enormous difference to your looks and confidence, but they must be functional too. it is possible to cause disharmony and even symptoms, like headaches, if crowns are placed without an understanding of function too.
Won’t it be too late to change things when my teeth are capped or veneered?
Yes, if you are not sure what you want, but you want to change your smile, don’t ask the dentist to make what looks good and then close your eyes while he or she works their magic. You’ve got to trial things first and although there is software that can show you what the result looks like of a screen, that may or may not be enough.
In my capacity as a dentist, I hear lots of complaints from patients who have not provided feedback to their dentist who is often doing what they think is best, and that includes the shade (colour) of the cap (crown or veneers).
Remember there’s a difference between trying to “match”a shade to a neighbouring tooth and choosing a shade for a smile (not that you’ll necessarily want them the same colour throughout each tooth anyway. What is of more concern is the complaints from patients that I hear in my capacity as a Legal Expert Witness.
Ninety percent plus of complaints and dissatisfaction can be avoided with the appropriate planning, much of which I’ll cover in the next dental article on looking good.
Dr. Stephen Bray 2019