Introduction: Esthetic dentistry aims to create a harmonious smile that is well integrated with the facial architecture of the patient. A good understanding of the patient’s esthetic perception is important when designing a smile.
Materials and methods: 106 subjects, 51 patients 54 dental students took part in the study. Each subject was asked to evaluate 10 pictures showing frontal aspect of real cases. They were asked to rate the aesthetics of the clinical cases on a scale from 1 to 5. An open question was associated with each picture, where the subjects were asked to describe what they like and what they do not like about the picture.
Results and discussions: The overall mean esthetic rating of dental students was 2,68, while the laypersons’ rating was 2,98. Crowded teeth are more often criticized by patients, while dental students consider that slight crowding give a more natural appearance and individualize the teeth. The presence of diastema is observed by dental students even when it is discrete. The discrepancy between maxillary and mandibular dental midline is more easily observed by dental students. Discolored teeth lead to low aesthetic scores for both groups of subjects. Dental students gave lower esthetic scores to restorations with uniform colour, while laypersons appreciate white restorations. The limited height of papillae is considered unattractive by dental students, while laypersons hardly notice this aspect.
Conclusions: This study showed several differences in the aesthetic perception of dental students and laypersons. Students were generally more critical and gave lower scores than laypersons. They also observed and criticized more aspects regarding the smile.
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