Purpose: The purpose of this study was to ascertain the influence of dental appearance upon subjective ratings of personal characteristics, specifically social competence, intellectual ability, and psychologic adjustment.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional analytic interview study was conducted with 201 undergraduates. Each participant was asked to make judgments about the personal characteristics of the subject of a single color photograph. Eight photographs of four different men were used, each with one of two degrees of dental status (visible disease, no visible disease). Outcome measures were participants' judgments of the social competence, intellectual ability, and psychologic adjustment of the subjects of the photographs.
Results: Participants judged subjects with less dental disease to be more socially competent, to show greater intellectual achievement, and to have better psychologic adjustment.
Conclusion: In the absence of other information, the judgments an individual makes concerning the personal characteristics of others are influenced by dental appearance.