The Golden Proportion of dentistry is a mathematical analysis tool for assessing the widths and the dominance of the maxillary anterior teeth. It is done from a frontal photographic view of the patient.
Evaluate the width with proportion
The simplest description of the golden proportion is that if we take the lateral incisor as a factor of 1, then the central incisor would be 1.6. The visible part of that canine, usually the mesial part of the canine in that front photographic view, would be 0.6. This is evaluated bilaterally so that we can sure that there's symmetry from the right to left side, as well as a pleasing proportion.
The history of the golden proportion
The first dentist that talked about this in relation to dentistry is Dr. Richard Lomardi, and he described it back in 1973 in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, actually in an article related to denture esthetics. There's another article in the Journal of Aesthetic Dentistry by Dr. Steven Snow in 1999 where he also describes something he calls, similar, the golden percentage. He uses a mathematical equation that if we take the measurement from the distal of the canine on one side to the distal of the canine on the other, and we take that as a 100%, then our central incisors would take up the center 50% of that photo or about 25% each. The lateral, incisors would be 15%, and that visible portion of the canines would be 10%.
Where it derives from
Although this is a term that we've adopted routinely in dentistry, it's actually terminology that is found in nature. In nature, it's called the Fibonacci Sequence, and it can be found in many things from the spiral of a nautilus seashell to the swirl of a hurricane. It's also found in art, in the face of the Mona Lisa, and it was actually the inspiration for Leonardo DaVinci's The Vitruvian Man. It has become a very useful tool in dentistry, not only to help us evaluate but also to help us design smiles that follow the beauty and the balance and the symmetry that we find in nature.