Spanish researchers quantify the perfect celebrity smile

By Theresa Pablos, DrBicuspid.com editor in chief

May 28, 2021 -- It turns out celebrity smiles differ quite a bit from the grins of us regular folk. Photos of smiling celebrities showed numerous deviations from the smiles of Spanish dental students in a study published on May 19 in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry.

Celebrity smiles had no tilting of the maxillary midline, showed more teeth, displayed incisal edges parallel to the lower lip, and displayed occlusal and commissural planes parallel to the interpupillary line. The findings can help dentists create more satisfying smiles for patients, the authors noted.

"Analyzing the smiles of those considered beautiful or attractive and knowing what parameters of the smile are considered by the general population as most influential in esthetics will enhance patient satisfaction," wrote the authors, led by Dr. Gema Arroyo-Cruz, PhD, an assistant professor in prosthodontics at the University of Seville School of Dentistry in Spain.

To quantify the perfect Hollywood smile, the authors pulled pictures from the internet of 58 celebrities rated as having the "top" or "best" celebrity smile. While they didn't name names, a quick internet search revealed household names such as Anne Hathaway, George Clooney, and Kate Middleton as frequents on the list of stars with stunning teeth.

The authors then compared front-facing photos of celebrities at public events with digital photographs of 144 University of Seville dental students. They hadn't expected to see many significant differences between the two groups but were quickly proven wrong.

Smile esthetics of celebrities and dental students
  Students Celebrities
Parallel smile arc 47.2% 67.2%
Midline deviated right or left 59.7% 75.8%
Nontilted midline 22.9% 79.3%
Parallel interpupillary line-commissural line relationship 22.9% 77.6%
Parallel interpupillary line-occlusal plane relationship 32.6% 58.6%

Smile arc was one of the more important differences between celebrities and students, the authors noted. Celebrities more often had a parallel smile arc and rarely had an inverted arc.

"Some authors have considered this to be the most important esthetic factor, changing a smile from acceptable to unattractive," the authors wrote.

In addition, celebrities were more likely to have a deviated midline but much lower degrees of midline tilting (0.25° of inclination versus 1.03°). They also showed more teeth, with no celebrities on the list showing fewer than eight teeth, compared with 4% of dental students.

Furthermore, celebrities more often had parallel interpupillary relationships with the commissural line and occlusal plane, and the degree of canting discrepancy was much lower for celebrities than dental students. Celebrities had an average discrepancy of 0.22° for the commissural line and 0.40° for the occlusal plane, compared with 1.06° and 0.96° for students.

Based on the findings, the authors concluded that the celebrity smiles "were mainly characterized by no deviations or inclinations of the maxillary interincisal midline, showing a greater number of teeth in the smile, having incisal edges parallel to the lower lip (particularly in women), and having the occlusal plane and commissural plane parallel to the interpupillary line."


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