What Is the Golden Ratio and How Is It Used in a Smile Makeover?
How Dentists Design Beautiful Smiles
If someone asks you to picture an attractive smile, you will probably envision straight, flawless teeth in a dazzling shade of white, with minimal gum showing when smiling broadly. These features are certainly considered beautiful and desirable, but there’s more to a smile makeover than these individual features. A skilled cosmetic dentist will ensure your teeth and smile shape follow the golden ratio of what’s considered balanced, proportional, and aesthetically pleasing.
Here’s what the golden ratio means to artistic smile design.
What is the golden ratio?
When you consider the question, “What makes something beautiful or attractive?” mathematics is likely low on the list of potential answers. The truth is, numbers have a lot to do with what makes something appear attractive and well-proportioned—including smiles.
Ancient Greek mathematicians like Euclid and Pythagoras discovered 1.618 (the golden ratio) around 300 BCE. However, Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli wouldn’t label it the “golden ratio” until later. The golden ratio is also known as the golden number and the golden, or divine proportion, and it’s represented by the Greek letter Φ (Phi).
You’ll find golden ratio proportions everywhere in the world, including nature. For example, seashells, like the nautilus, and the perfectly spiraled leaves of the spiral aloe plant are examples of this proportion creating an aesthetically-pleasing form. In the machine-made world, the ratio is used in every industry, including graphic design, music, and architecture.
How do dentists use the golden ratio in dentistry?
An attractive smile is symmetrical and proportional, but most smiles aren’t naturally perfect. Cosmetic dentists use the golden ratio to create a smile makeover plan that brings balance while working with a person’s unique facial structure and smile type.
Artistic smile design focuses on the most visible teeth—the incisors and canines. Dentists apply the golden ratio principle most closely using the proportions of these teeth. Your dentist will aim for the width of each incisor to be about 70% of its height, and this ratio will be carried to the third tooth from the center. Your dentist will design your smile from the center teeth out to ensure proper proportions, but your back teeth may also be included in treatment, if more or less space is needed for the front teeth.
Other proportional factors your dentist will aim for include:
- Upper teeth fill a minimum of 75% of the space between your lips when smiling fully
- Straight midline aligns with the facial midline (space between eyebrows, to upper lip Cupid’s bow, to chin)
- Minimum of 3 mm visible gum tissue when smiling fully
- Minimal buccal corridor (the dark space in the corners of your mouth when smiling)
Experienced cosmetic dentists know what makes a smile beautiful and use these principles to create a smile that complements your facial characteristics.
What services are included in a smile makeover?
Services like dental bonding and professional teeth whitening are fantastic cosmetic services that can be incorporated into a smile makeover. However, if your teeth and smile anatomy aren’t aligned to the golden ratio, your dentist will need to use more impactful treatments.
Gum Contouring and Crown Lengthening
If you have too much gum tissue showing when you smile, your dentist can use gum contouring to lift your gumline higher up your teeth. Crown lengthening is an accompanying procedure to extend the length of your teeth, using veneers or dental crowns to protect the exposed tooth.
Orthodontics moves crooked, gapped, rotated, or protruding teeth into straight alignment. Orthodontic care may also be necessary to move your back teeth to increase or decrease space for your front teeth to be realigned.
Porcelain veneers are ideal for changing the size and shape of your teeth, especially if the length vs. width isn’t between 70% to 80%. Veneers can easily add width, narrow, or lengthen your front teeth. With veneers, it’s possible to fix mild crookedness and gaps visually if you don’t want orthodontic care and have an otherwise healthy bite alignment.
Your smile makeover could include one or more of these services and perhaps additional cosmetic or restorative procedures not mentioned here.
Book a smile makeover consultation at Orchard Dental Associates.
You deserve a smile that makes you feel confident and proud. Our dentists provide general and cosmetic dental care in Corpus Christi, and they can help you find a solution if you’re unhappy with how your smile looks. Your first appointment for a smile makeover will be a consultation to discuss what changes you’d like, which services the dentist recommends, and what to expect during your treatment plan. Schedule your smile makeover consultation by calling our office or requesting one online.