Smile esthetics in orthodontics

 The importance of beauty and attractiveness in today’s society has been well established.

Physically attractive people are perceived to be more kind, sensitive, interesting, strong, poised, modest, sociable, outgoing, exciting, and responsive. (Dion et al 1972) .It is also believed that attractive people are more likely to obtain better jobs,have more successful marriages, and experience happier, more fulfilling lives. These societal biases begin early in life and impact a person’s future for a lifetime. Dentofacial attractiveness is particularly important to a person’s psychosocial well being. People with a normal dental appearance are judged more socially attractive over many personal characteristics than those with malocclusions. (Shaw et al AJO 1985) Those with poor dental esthetics have been linked to lack of self-confidence and are thought to be disadvantaged in social, educational, and occupational settings.

During interpersonal interactions, the eyes primarily scan other people’s eyes and mouths, with little time spent on other features. (Miller, 1970) Thus it is not surprising that the general public considers the smile to rank second only to the eyes when considering features most important to facial esthetics. (Goldstein, 1969). Tatarunaite et al (AJODO 2005) reported that smiling and youthful facial appearance make women look more attractive

Esthetics, which is derived from the Greek word for perception, deals with beauty and the beautiful. It may be divided into two dimensions: objective (admirable) and subjective (enjoyable ) beauty. Objective beauty implies that the object possesses properties that make it unmistakably praiseworthy. Subjective beauty is value laden, and is related to the tastes of the person contemplating it.

Contemporary techniques in orthodontics should lend objective esthetics to the entire orofacial complex involving unity, form, color, function and display of the dentition. In addition, the creation of subjective beauty according to the orthodontist’s own preferences may enhance the cosmetic value of treatment given to each patient.

Esthetics in orthodontics has been defined mainly in terms of profile enhancement, but if you ask lay people what an orthodontist does, their answers will usually include something about creating beautiful smiles.

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