Differences in facial profile and dental esthetic perceptions between young adults and orthodontists

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Abstract

Introduction

The principal aim of this study was to investigate differences in perception of soft-tissue facial profiles and dental esthetics between young Chinese adults and orthodontists.

Methods

Eight hundred ninety-two subjects (444 male, 448 female), ages 16 to 24 years, chose 1 image from among 5 profile silhouettes and from among 10 ranked color photographs of the aesthetic component (AC) of the index of orthodontic treatment need that most closely resembled their own profile and dental esthetic appearance, respectively. A panel of 20 orthodontists then independently repeated the same image selection process. Each subject also completed the Eysenck personality questionnaire for psychoticism. We used the Mann-Whitney U test and the Spearman rank correlation test, with statistical significance set at α = 0.05.

Results

Only 37.0% of subjects had straight profiles by objective orthodontic assessment, but 85.0% chose straight profiles by subjective self-perception. About 17.5%, mainly females, chose the mild convex as the ideal profile. Only 2.5% of the subjects were ranked 1 on the AC by orthodontists, but 43.6% chose 1, or ideal, by self-perception. Male subjects scored significantly higher than did female subjects for self-perceived facial profiles (more protruded chins) and for the AC (more attractive dental appearance). Subjects with high psychoticism T scores (<50) scored significantly lower for self-perceived facial profiles (more retruded chins) and on the AC (less attractive dental appearance).

Conclusions

Young Chinese adults perceived their facial profiles and dental appearances to be significantly more straight and attractive, respectively, than did the orthodontists. A significant proportion of the young adults, mainly women, preferred a mild convex facial profile. High psychoticism scores might significantly affect the self-perception of orthodontic treatment needs.

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