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  • The Summerville Journal Scene Progress Report

    Did you see Dr. Reagin’s article in the Summerville Journal Scene Progress Report 2014 yesterday? It’s a great article and we want to share it with you here today, just in case you missed it!

    Easy as “Phi”: The Science, Technology, and Art of Building Great Smiles

    The “Golden Ratio,” often referred to as the Greek letter “phi,” has always captivated my imagination. From nature and biology to art and architecture, this geometric proportion is often thought of as the mathematical expression of beauty.  The chambers of a nautilus shell, the geometry of crystal formation, human proportions as depicted in da Vinci’s “Vetruvian Man”, the entire structure of the Acropolis in Athens; all examples of the “Golden Ratio” in our world.  So it will probably not be a surprise when I, an orthodontist, take note of “phi” in both our faces and our smiles in crafting the optimal outcome for my patients. As you will see, technological advances enable more accurate measurements and pain-free orthodontic care, but at the core of creating great smiles is the intersection between math (physics), biology, and art.

    It may seem far-fetched to correlate the practice of orthodontics to anything resembling art.  After all, orthodontists must first attain a degree in dental medicine, and then enter into a two to three year residency focused specifically on the etiology of bite disorders and the physics and physiology of moving teeth.  This all sounds very much scientific and un-artsy, right? However, this specialization in orthodontics itself includes a degree in Dentofacial Aesthetics, and “aesthetics” is defined as “a study of outward appearance in terms of beauty and/or art.” So to be clear, beyond the physics of tooth movement, an orthodontist must thoroughly understand the proportions of a given patient’s face in order to engineer a smile that is both healthful and beautiful.

    Technological advances in the field of orthodontics have yielded a set of tools that not only helps to zero in on better, faster treatment plans, but does so in a way that makes orthodontic care more comfortable, and ultimately, more affordable.  For example, our office is one of few in the region that has invested in the iTero® digital scanning system that yields vastly more accurate measurements of a patient’s mouth.  For the patient, this means no more “goopy” impressions, itself a great benefit.  But clinically speaking, iTero provides me with an incredibly precise model from which I can more quickly create a better treatment plan.  The result is an improved patient experience that includes a shorter time in braces or Invisalign® and a more affordable, better treatment outcome.

    The sum of it all is that our investment in cutting edge technology certainly means a vastly better patient experience while in care.  So, too, does the technology enable my team to take better, more accurate measurements that help me to craft optimal treatment plans.  But the science of moving teeth to yield a great smile is reliant on creating a balance of proportions, the “Golden Ratio” of a “golden smile,” if you will.  Understanding this balance is the real art in orthodontics.  As easy as “phi.”

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