Are you judged by your teeth?

We have so many patients who say that they feel self-conscious and judged because of their smiles, with many beginning their consult stating that ‘I have ugly teeth’. We decided to put this to the test…… surely having good teeth can’t impact people’s perceptions that much?

The team at ADAP wanted to do a little social experiment to find out if having nice teeth really affects people’s first impressions. We went around Leederville in West Perth and asked people at random what they thought of these 2 pictures of Jo. As you can see, one has her normal nice smile and the other…. a not so nice photoshopped smile!

We asked questions on education, trustworthiness, social standing and personal hygiene. The idea was not to find out about how attractive they thought she looked, but deeper perceptions which could actually have quite an impact on someone’s life. Factors like that would be quite impactful if you went for a job interview for example.

All the questions were rated on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest and five the highest. An example was given for each end of the scale to help guide the participants. Each participant was only showed one picture either the bad teeth or the good teeth, if we had of showed them both they could have easily caught on and it would have skewed our results.

The day of filming was a mixture of nerves and excitement for myself, it was the first time I had ever been in front of the camera like that (so hopefully I didn’t come across too awkward!) so it was a whole new experience walking around getting people to participate in our study. Plenty of strange looks and people crossing the road when you have an entourage of a cameraman and a sound tech!

We tried to target a mixed sample of people, young and old, all different races and styles. It was a real insight, apart from the odd anomaly almost all the answers rated Jo higher with a better smile than those with the not so good smile. It was a real insight as none of us expected the results to be so clear cut. On average, each answer was 20% lower with the picture of bad teeth, crazy! It was clear to us that having worn or damaged teeth did cause judgement.

Not only is looking after our teeth important for our health, but it’s becoming more clear cut just how having not so nice teeth can affect our lives and people’s views towards us. Not just from our own social experiment, but there is more and more research pointing towards the perceptions gauged off having good vs bad teeth. As wrong as it may be, we are judgemental and those first impressions really do count!

Check out the full video below. Massive thankyou to Roy from Ray Rocket Media for putting the video together for us and helping me on the day, it was great fun!

Liam Ryder Page
Advanced Dental Artistry

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