The Dawson Academy Blog

Dental Articles on Occlusion, Centric Relation, Restorative Dentistry & More

The Golden Rule of Proportion

So as we begin to consider design as it relates to nature, it would be nice if there were some rules or formulas that would allow us to harness the power of what esthetics are all about. That would give us some predictability or a roadmap for our final design. I think it's been the Holy Grail, through mankind, to try to understand what those rules would be.

Fibonacci was a 13th-century mathematician, and he began to observe repeated patterns in nature. And what he tried to create were a series of mathematical logarithms that would give us a mathematical understanding of what esthetics was all about. The Fibonacci sequence was one of those formulas that look specifically at golden proportions.

It was a couple of centuries later that a guy by the name of Leonardo da Vinci came along. And he popularized a sketch called the Vitruvian Man. And it was based upon some work by another Italian engineer and architect, and his name was Vitruvius. And he felt as if the divine proportions seen in man ought to be what is replicated in architecture and design.

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Quick Tip - Creating Beautiful Esthetics

So creating beautiful smiles is really about creating beautiful health.

Our vision when we're trying to create a great looking smile is to design something that's going to be a mirror of the relative health of the system. And I think, as we begin to consider enhancements or changes to someone's smile, we need to think of it in a perspective as a smile designer first, before we're beginning the treatment plan, what the results will be.

And when we begin to consider what components we're going to manipulate in order to try to optimize someone's smiles, we need to consider that with the end in mind, but obviously with an omnipresent understanding of the system at large and how the engineering will be.

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Quick Tip: Incisal Embrasures & Contact Zones

In our smile design process, we have learned from Dr. Dawson how to develop incisal embrasures. And also from Dr. Dawson and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, how to develop the apparent contact zone between teeth.

So between two centrals it should be 50%, a central and lateral, 40%, and a lateral and a canine, 30%.

There are times, though, where, depending on the restorative interfaces, say, for example, two implants, we cannot create an apparent contact zone that falls in those parameters. And if we want to keep the incisal embrasures developed, as Dr. Dawson's taught us, we need to have a long contact zone.

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Dawson Quick Tip: Preventing Black Triangles

One of the things that can negatively affect the result and success of our cosmetic cases is the appearance of black triangles.

There were two landmark studies and papers that were released in '92 by Tarnow, and Garber and Salama in '98 that talked about where to set the contact points depending on the restorative interfaces relative to the bone to prevent black triangles from forming.

Say, for example:

  • Tooth to tooth set at 5 millimeters or less
  • Tooth to implant, four and a half millimeters or less
  • Implant to implant, three and a half millimeters or less.
  • And there are other combinations.

The key is from our end, we have to communicate to the lab and let them know where to set that contact point relative to the margin.

For example, if you're restoring teeth numbers eight and nine and you want to prevent a black triangle from forming between those teeth, you have to let your lab know where to set the contact relative to the margin.

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Dawson Quick Tip: Vinyl Impressions of Wax-Ups

So one of the things that I know that a lot of you are doing as good, complete dentists is actually doing afull contour wax-up, especially when we're doing an anterior case, a full arch reconstruction, or a full mouth reconstruction.

Something that's been very useful to us in helping to communicate with the patient and also be able to preview our results, is when we order the wax-up from the lab, we'll have the ceramist send us a vinyl impression of the wax-up.


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Dawson Quick Tip: 3 Criteria for Selecting Shade for Restorations

Hi. I'm Scott Finley with The Dawson Academy, with a quick tip that will give you something to consider when you're selecting shades for you restorations.

The first thing I'd like you to think about is the management of the light that is in the environment that you're selecting the shade.

The ambient lighting will certainly the wavelength that is then received back to the observers' eyes. So we can determine whether or not the color truly is true, in a full spectrum lighting.


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Infographic: Is There a Demand for Implant Dentistry?

Implant Dentistry has been a huge topic, especially as of recent. You can't pick up a dental publication without seeing multiple articles surrounding the topic. 

Statistics show that Implant Dentistry can actually be the highest production per hour procedure and have the greatest lifetime financial opportunity for your practice.

So why leave that opportunity to just Oral Surgeons? The general dentist can (and should) play a major role in any case involving dental implants too.

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Why Do Patients Think Their Upper Anterior Teeth are Too Long?

Well, the short answer is probably because they are too long. They also might be too far out.

It’s important to remember that when you’re restoring maxillary anterior teeth, unless you give the laboratory very specific guidelines on where you want the maxillary incisal edge, their tendency is to make the teeth too long and to make them too far labially.The other thing that we have the tendency to do on maxillary anterior teeth is under-reduce, which sets up a lot of these problems.

One of the things that is extremely important to remember is that if all the lab has to go by is a nice model of the prepared teeth with good margins, they are simply guessing at where the maxillary incisal edges will be in space. We have to determine these things in the mouth and then give very specific communication to the lab on where that’s going to be, and then have some verification or protocols to make sure they do it.

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