Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Bhavna Shroff


Introduction: Self-perception of smile aesthetics has been suggested as the most common reason for seeking orthodontic treatment. A recent study concluded that an improvement of dental attractiveness at the end of orthodontic treatment had positive effects on self-esteem. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between one’s self-perceived smile aesthetics and their self-esteem. Methods: A survey was conducted where each subject completed an evaluation of their smile aesthetics and a Rosenberg Self-esteem Test (RST). A smiling photograph of each subject was evaluated by dental professionals for dental aesthetics and straightness. Results: Female students rated their teeth straighter than males (mean = 78.5, p value < .0001). Self-esteem varied by race (p = 0.0017). African Americans had the highest self-esteem. There was a significant relationship between a subject’s satisfaction with their smile and their self-esteem (r = .30, p < .0001), but not with their self rating of their smile straightness (r = 0.11, p = 0.0528). Conclusions: Subjects with straight teeth perceived their smile as more aesthetic. Subjects that perceived themselves as having a more aesthetic smile had a higher self-esteem. Subjects that had orthodontic treatment in the past perceived their teeth were straighter and their smile was more aesthetic. There was no relationship between previous orthodontic therapy and self-esteem. Perception of smile aesthetics may be a more important aspect and a better predictor of self-esteem than a subject’s actual smile aesthetics.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

July 2011

Included in

Dentistry Commons