“The Fool’s Golden” Proportion

Or should the title be the Golden Proportion for all us fools who have listened to cosmetic experts? If you have been practicing for a while you would have experienced the reference to this pillar of cosmetic training that seemed to dictate the ideal relative proportions of the upper anterior teeth.

I used to cringe hearing it, and was relieved to read an article in the spring issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry that agreed with my repulsion.

In his article “Keeping It Real!: Mystifying Beauty”, the author Iran Ahmad described in essence how smile design by cosmetic experts has been destroyed by using this misapplication of a Greek scholar’s non-dental theory. If you are like me, you would often pick up cosmetic dental journals and articles mailed from porcelain dental labs to see smiles that were somehow ‘not right’.

Even though patients have flocked to cosmetic dentists for their expertise it seems their trust has often been betrayed. As the author states, perfection does not equal esthetics, and the obsession with getting every tooth dimensionally sized to honor a dead Greek geek has been foolish. The hundreds of thousands of veneers designed with philosophical foundation are now obsolete. Will cosmetic dentists and their labs be sending out notices of a factory recall? Not likely.

It takes a lot of gumption to write an article that questions the beliefs of fellow professionals, but I don’t think the author will be sitting alone in the convention cafeteria. He will be able to enjoy his meal with the author of another article in the same journal (Jason J. Kim) that essentially stated porcelain veneers are often too white to have a chance at looking natural.

Maybe those of us who are a little sloppy in our measurements and simply eye-ball with thumb and finger are the new real-life experts in Un-Cosmetic Dentistry. Maybe we will have our day in the sunshine sooner than others would have dreamed.