Patients, dentists differ on smile ratings, JADA study

December 10, 2007

People rate their smiles higher than dentists do, according to a new study. Teeth and eyes rated as the most important features of an attractive face, the study also found, and people younger than age 50 were most satisfied with their smiles.

The study, published in this month’s Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), asked 78 patients in Norway to rate their own smiles on a 100-point satisfaction scale. Later, the patients’ regular dentist and an independent periodontist rated the patients’ smiles from photographs, using the same satisfaction scale.

According to the study, patients were more satisfied with their own smiles than dentists, rating them an average 59.1 on the 100-point scale. Dentists’ ratings of the patients’ smiles were much lower, averaging 38.6 (independent periodontist) and 40.7 (patients’ own dentist).

The researchers say that it may be difficult to understand what a smile satisfaction level of 59 really means, adding it might be more accurate to say patients are “accepting of, or contented with, their smiles.”

The study participants, who were not actively seeking cosmetic dental treatments, averaged 51 years of age (range, 22-84 years) and numbered 50 women and 28 men.

“The fact that the patients had much higher opinions of their smiles than we dentists did is interesting,” the researchers state. They explained that patients expressed their opinions from memory, while the dentists made their assessments from photographs.

Had patients used the clinicians’ detailed approach to include assessing lip lines, tooth shade, spacing, and crowding, their opinions about their smiles might have been different, the researchers speculate.

“Dentists should be aware that patients who seek esthetic services may have different perceptions of their smiles than patients who do not express such desires,” concluded researchers.

Source: American Dental Association

Explore further: Mouth breathing can cause major health problems

Related Stories

Mouth breathing can cause major health problems

April 6, 2010

For some, the phrase "spring is in the air" is quite literal. When the winter snow melts and flowers bloom, pollen and other materials can wreak havoc on those suffering from seasonal allergies, usually causing a habit called ...

As finances fall, fewer know the drill

February 19, 2009

Some dentists are warning that, just as the recession has eroded the nation's job and stock markets, it's also causing another kind of decay.

Psychological and social issues associated with tooth loss

July 16, 2008

Are feelings of depression overwhelming you? Is your self-esteem an issue? Having problems advancing in life or your career? Maybe you feel nervous or self conscious in social settings? Do you avoid social settings all together? ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.