Esthetic Smile Preferences of Dental Professionals
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This study examined the preferences of esthetic smile characteristics between general dentists and specialists in orthodontics, periodontics, and prosthodontics using a six item pilot survey. Characteristics examined included gingival display, vertical relationship of lateral incisor to central incisor and canine, mesiodistal position of the gingival height of contour (zenith) of the maxillary lateral incisor, smile line, amount of visible buccal corridor space, and width ratio of the maxillary anterior teeth. A photograph showing an esthetically pleasing smile of a female was captured, cropped and mirrored at the midline to appear bilaterally symmetrical using Adobe Photoshop. For each characteristic, the baseline photograph was incrementally altered digitally, then all photographs of a single characteristic were displayed on each separate page of the survey. The survey was divided into two parts: Part I provided no prompting of the specific characteristic being evaluated, whereas Part II was prompted. Participants were instructed to select one photograph in each series for ‘most esthetic’ and ‘least esthetic’ in both Parts I and II. Five participants in each of the four professional categories (n=20), all either part- or full-time faculty at the UMKC School of Dentistry, were recruited though an email advertisement. Those who met the inclusion criteria completed the survey in a solitary, uninterrupted manner. Statistical analysis of the gathered data was performed with the Fisher’s Exact test and significance was set at p ≤ .05. In addition, an agreement test was used to compare between each individual’s responses for Parts I and II. Statistically significant differences between general dentists and the specialists were found only for the width ratio of the maxillary anterior teeth, and only when not prompted: generalists preferred a width ratio of 0.65 while specialists preferred 0.7. Preferences for all other characteristics were similar across disciplines. When comparing survey responses with or without prompting, generalists tended to change their selections more frequently when provided with prompting information. The results of this study suggest that specialists prefer wider smiles than generalists. In addition, specialists are more readily able to identify their preferences when evaluating the esthetic nature of smiles.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Materials and methods -- Results -- Discussion -- Literature cited -- Appendix A. IRB letter -- Appendix B. Authorization and release for photography -- Appendix C. Email advertisement -- Appendix D. Verbal script for survey instructions -- Appendix E. Survey, Part 1 -- Appendix F. Survey, Part 2 -- Appendix G. Participant comments