Perception and Characterization of Posed Smile: A Photographic Study

 -Journal of Indian Orthodontic Society

Smile is a wine that intoxicates the eyes of both the holder and the beholder. An attractive smile in modern day society is considered an asset in work settings and social interaction, as it plays an important role in facial expression and appearance.1 

Studying smile esthetics is difficult because of the inability to standardize a realistic model and to alter the variables of interest.2 But it is important for an orthodontist because most laypeople use smile to judge the treatment success.3 Hence, the expectations of the patient must be considered because ideals of esthetics may vary.4

The perception of smile esthetics is subjective, influenced by personal experience and social environment.5 Diamond6 reported that what a person finds attractive has much to do with the qualities of surrounding population and other environmental factors.

For the same reasons, there can be differences of opinion regarding esthetics of smile between laypeople and professionals. Some studies concluded that dental professionals and general population have different preferences for smile esthetics.

Mc Leod also observed that cultural differences related to smile perception do exist. Canadian laypersons are more discriminating to deviations from ideal and have a narrower range of acceptability as compared to the people of USA.9 US Caucasians, US American Asian Indians, and Indians living in India have different preferences for smile esthetics.10 Therefore, there is a need of regional studies on perceptions of different populations regarding smile esthetics.

Most orthodontic patients seek orthodontic treatment to improve their smile. Therefore, smile analysis becomes an integral component of orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning for a patient, and the expectations of the patient must be considered because of subjective variation in perception. Smile analysis is the assessment of some variables such as smile arc, buccal corridor space, gingival display, tooth proportions, dental and facial midlines, and tooth color.

Esthetics of smile depends on these variables.11 Also some studies found gender difference for various parameters of smile, which was different for different populations.12-15 Therefore, it is essential to understand components of an esthetically attractive smile to satisfy patient’s expectation as well as to achieve successful treatment results, and knowledge of sexual dimorphism regarding smile components is also necessary.