What’s the first thing most people notice about you when you first meet them? Your smile! Since your smile is such an important facial feature, improving it has been at the center of attention even since ancient times. Ancient grave sites in Egypt and Italy reveal people buried in their dental appliances, including metal bands and wires for straightening teeth, golden dental crowns, and false teeth made of ivory.
This interest in straightening teeth and maintaining a perfect smile lies in our love of symmetry, proportion, and similar classical notions of beauty. For the longest time artists and architects have known the importance of symmetry and proportion in making their work beautiful and so implemented it into their work, often using the Golden Ratio, where the ratio of the length of 2 objects to the larger of the two is the same as the ratio of the larger object to the smaller one.
Restorative and prosthodontic dental specialists try to take these same notions of beauty and apply them to restoring or improving patients’ teeth. When it comes to teeth, be they missing, misshapen, or broken, patients need restored function and aesthetics. Symmetry and beauty of a patient’s smile is just as important as repairing usage.
But what exactly makes a beautiful smile? The theories on proportion are good guidelines, but most importantly, it takes the skill and artistry of a good dentist to create a smile that is the most beautiful smile on that each unique patient!