Influence of symmetry and balance on visual perception of a white female smile

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Abstract

Statement of problem.

Clinicians and dental technicians may underestimate what is deemed esthetic by laypersons and dental professionals.

Purpose.

The purpose of this study was to define the relative importance of symmetry, visual tension, and balance in the smile.

Material and methods.

Images of a white woman were altered to reproduce symmetry, various visual tensions, distinct tooth shapes, and color changes. A 12-question survey was presented to 128 individuals, including 81 dental professionals and 47 laypersons. The survey asked individuals to choose the most desirable and beautiful image in a choice of images.

Results.

Raters were most influenced by the maxillary central incisors and then the canines and were more forgiving on visual tensions of the maxillary lateral incisors. Square-shaped teeth were preferred over ovoid and triangular ones. The more upright the canines, the more the smile was perceived as masculine. Teeth whiter than the sclera of the eyes were preferred, with lay individuals choosing the lightest shade available and dental professionals choosing the shade slightly lighter than the sclera. Although participants mostly preferred a symmetrical smile, they opted for the natural face as opposed to symmetrical ones.

Conclusions.

Location of visual tension plays a role in perceiving beauty. Symmetrical smiles were considered more pleasant but not symmetrical faces. Imperfections play an essential role in perceiving beauty because they express life, individuality, charisma, and charm.

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