There are many different ways to assess and diagnose the aesthetics of a smile. I love learning a different approach, not so I can change to it, but so I can incorporate it into what I am already doing.
I had the pleasure of attending a full day lecture by Dr. Corky Willhite on transitional Bonding. Corky is one of the dentists I respect the most when it comes to composite education, and I had not heard him teach for many years so I was really looking forward to it. With all of the great new tricks I learned about composite, what I came away with that has me most excited is the four Esthetic Zone Ratios, to analyze and improve the attractiveness of a smile.
What Are Aesthetic Zone Ratios?
Esthetic Zone Ratios is an approach to smile design, and can be used in conjunction with or as a replacement for other smile design systems. There are four aesthetic zone ratios:
- Anterior Aesthetic Zone Ratio
- Tooth Proportion Ratio
- Anterior Segment Ratio
- Central Dominance Ratio
Aesthetic Zone Ratio
The first of the four ratios compares the width and height of the esthetic zone at a full smile. The first thing you will need is a full smile photograph of the patient. I typically ask the patient to say “E” to capture this photo so I do not get their posed smile with less display. I utilize presentation software to do the analysis since the program will do the math for me. I insert the full smile photograph into a slide. I then insert two lines one from for the width from inside the upper to inside the lower lip. I then do the same thing for width taking my line from the commissures, just inside the tissue of the cheek or face. You can then get the pixels length of the two lines by placing your cursor over the end of the line and holding.
Now you are going to divide the two numbers into each other, height divided by width, then take that result times 100 and you now have a percentage. The ideal ratio is between 15-30%. If this ratio is great then 30% we can then focus on a diagnostic cause of the smile being too tall or high. This might be things like Vertical Maxillary Excess or a short upper lip. The ratio triggers me to go back and look through other photos and evaluate the face and sift tissue for diagnostic challenges. If the number is smaller then 15% we may have a long upper lip, reduced lip mobility or a short lower face.
Facial and Soft Tissue anomalies are rarely treated when we fix the teeth, but can have a significant impact on the aesthetic outcomes, and when undiagnosed can often negatively impact our dental treatment plan.
Are you routinely taking diagnostic photos with patients?