The apparent contact dimension (ACD), a determinant of dental esthetics, has been purported to exhibit an esthetic relationship termed the "50:40:30" rule, implying that in an esthetic smile, the ACD between the central incisors, central and lateral incisors, and lateral incisor and canine would be 50, 40, and 30% of the height of a central incisor, respectively. This study assessed the existence of this proportion using casts of orthodontically treated (N = 40) and nontreated (N = 27) subjects deemed to possess excellent occlusion. Covariates studied included tooth size, tooth shape, tip, and torque. The average ACD proportions in this study, relative to the height of an ipsilateral central incisor, were found to be 49, 38, and 27% between the central incisors, central and lateral incisors, and the lateral incisor and canine, respectively. The ACD exhibited a positive correlation (p < 0.05) with the height of the clinical crown and a negative correlation (p < 0.05) with the width/height ratios of the corresponding teeth. No statistically significant correlations were evident between the ACD with the shape of the clinical crown, tip, and torque. However, the tip and torque did exhibit a statistically significant (p < 0.05) correlation with the height of the clinical crown. This study is the first to validate the existence and proportions of the ACD. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE This study validates the existence of the ACD and quantifies the relationship of the ACD with tooth size, tooth shape, mesiodistal crown angulation (tip), and labiolingual crown inclination (torque) among subjects deemed to possess excellent occlusion and alignment. This quantifiable "ideal" and its correlation with the other determinants of dental esthetics may be used in conjunction with various evidence-based paradigms in the esthetic appraisal of the maxillary anterior teeth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas