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Dentists Take Dimmer View of Patients' Smiles
Date:12/17/2007

ctually fulfill these criteria is not known."

"Furthermore, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder," he added. "So there are a lot more smiles that are found to be attractive than just the 'media-created smile'. In addition, social and cultural differences exist, where different features are deemed attractive."

Dr. Edmond Hewlett, a consumer advisor to the American Dental Association, and an associate professor in UCLA's School of Dentistry in Los Angeles, agreed that dentists are trained to look for certain agreed-upon tooth proportions, symmetries, sizes, shapes and coloring when assessing a person's smile.

"I think there is a notion of what the components of an optimally attractive smile," he said. "There are certain parameters that are commonly utilized when a dentist looks at a smile. Then you take these very general parameters and apply them to every individual person with their unique features."

"It's certainly not a cookie-cutter situation, like a Julia Roberts template that we want to stick in everybody's mouth," he stressed. "But when you look at a beautiful smile you do see a lot of the same features -- either because the person is blessed or through orthodontic work -- which we all find appealing.

"Models, for example, consistently have central incisors which tend to be a little bit wider and longer than the other teeth in the front," Hewlett noted. "And yet when you look at two famous actresses -- Kirsten Dunst and Patricia Arquette -- both have a type of crookedness. The incisors are actually tilted back a little, and the canine teeth look more prominent like fangs. Yet both have commented in interviews that they are tired of people telling them to change their teeth. They're quite confident and comfortable."

"And that's the subjectivity of attractive teeth personified," he noted. "They're comfortable in their own skin, and they don't feel the need to conform to some culturally driven ideal
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