PERCEPTION OF DENTAL AESTHETICS AND TREATMENT NEEDS AMONG DENTAL AND NON-DENTAL STUDENTS
Smile is a very important component of presentation of any personality. Main dental factors which effect a smile of a person are shape, size, color, position of tooth and gingival display. Dentists and laypersons vary in the way they judge different smiles and their perception also depends on their knowledge regarding dental abnormalities. The objective of this research was to study the effect of alteration in dental factors on smiles as perceived by dental and non-dental students. Two hundred and forty participants consisting of two groups were included in the study. Group I was of non-dental students and group two of dental students. Eleven digitally altered images of a smiling subject were shown to each participant. These images included abnormalities in tooth shape, size and color that are commonly presented to restorative dentists for aesthetic correction. Participants were asked to rate the picture on a 5 point likert scale according to their perception regarding aesthetics as well as need of any treatment. Frequency and percentages of responses were noted and Chi-square was used to compare the two groups. Non- dental students were not able to identify aesthetic abnormalities in smile and rated them as “good”, while more dental students marked these as “fair” (33%) and “poor” (65.8 %). It was concluded that the alteration on smiles are perceived better by dental students than non-dental students. Need of treatment was also more correctly identified by dental students.