What Makes a Smile Attractive? A Review in Literature

Willey, Emily, Blanca Guillen, and Lisa Brooks


The purpose of this table clinic is to demonstrate how individual perceptions are effected by dental characteristics such as: midline discrepancies, crowding, and spacing. By exploring these dental characteristics, this information will demonstrate what an individual and the general public view as dentally attractive or unattractive and the impact on their psychosocial lives.


A literature review was performed in order to evaluate both the general public and individual perceptions of three different dental characteristics: crowding, spacing, and midline discrepancies. The various studies presented digitally altered pictures to dental professionals and laypersons in order to evaluate the perception of attractiveness. Other methods include Aesthetic Component (AC), Oral Health-related Quality of Life (OHRQoL), Visual Analog Scale (VAS), The Index of Orthodontic Need (IOTN), and Oral Aesthetic Subjective Impact Scale (OASIS).

Among the three dental characteristics, crowding is perceived as the most unattractive followed by spacing in the anterior regions. (Mugonzibwa et al., 2004). Maxillary anterior crowding of 2mm or more produced significant dissatisfaction among school aged children (Marques et. al., 2006). Midline discrepancies of less than 2 mm are least likely to be noticed by others (Johnson et al., 1999). Subjects with lower-ranking dental esthetics reported statistically significant high social appearance concern. Young adults who perceived their dental arrangement as irregular may tend to neglect oral hygiene practice as indicated by an inferior oral health condition.