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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.

Vitruvian ManFibonacci 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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The thorough review of literature, however, would tell you that there really is no absolute rule, that the statistical deviation of what happens relative to proportions has no real bearing or merit. But it does provide us a guideline.

And very often, we're left with those challenges of trying to create symmetry and balance in someone's smile but somehow pigeonholed by the amount of space that we have to work with. When those kinds of elements come along, what we try to do is push those visual discrepancies as far back in the smile as possible.

So if we can make central incisors twins and maybe lateral incisors cousins, that removes that visual distraction so that we can create balance and symmetry that would give us an esthetic looking appearance.

Why Porcelain Breaks

Photo Credit: Steven Yu via Flickr

Picture of Dr. Scott Finlay

Scott Finlay, D.D.S., FAGD, FAACD is the Resident Expert in Dental Esthetics and Senior Faculty member at the Dawson Academy. Dr. Finlay is one of the world’s most recognized dentists in the area of esthetic dentistry, winning several awards from the AACD. He is also a full-time practicing dentist at his practice in Annapolis, MD.