The influence of varying maxillary incisor shape on perceived smile aesthetics

Ahmed Hussain, Chris Louca, Albert Leung, Pranay Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objectives: This paper aims to determine the influence of varying the maxillary incisor shape of an individual on perceived smile aesthetics.

Methods: A photograph of a female smile displaying maxillary teeth only was digitally altered to produce five different incisor shapes. They consisted of three basic shapes: square (S), ovoid (O), triangular (T) and two variations, tapered-ovoid (TO) and square-tapering (ST). The images were ranked from the most to the least attractive by 30 dentists, 30 technicians and 30 patients.

Results: The TO maxillary incisor shape was perceived to be the most attractive smile overall (50%), and amongst dentists (70%), technicians (50%) and patients (30%). The O shape maxillary incisors were ranked the second most attractive overall (36.7%) and the most attractive amongst patients (56%). The S shape maxillary incisors were perceived as the least attractive overall (43.3%), and amongst dentists (47%), technicians (50%) and patients (33%).

Conclusions: The tapered-ovoid incisor tooth form for females is preferred to the square form, which corresponds with the findings in the dental literature. However, the results also suggest that there is not one ‘ideal’ incisor shape and that dental professionals are more critical than patients with respect to the shapes of maxillary incisors. Dental professionals should take the individual variability in patient response into consideration during treatment planning, to produce an aesthetic outcome that is acceptable for the patient.

Clinical significance: As a general rule, the tapered-ovoid tooth form is perceived to be more desirable than the square tooth form. The dental team should therefore keep this finding in mind and liaise with the patients accordingly, in order to help to produce desirable aesthetic clinical outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dentistry
Early online date20 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • maxillary incisors' profile
  • smile preferences
  • perceived aesthetics


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