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Volume 27 , Issue 4
July/August 2014

Pages 348–354

Dental Appearance and Personality Trait Judgment of Elderly Persons

Elena Duvernay, DMD/Murali Srinivasan, BDS, MDS, MBA/Luiza Diana Legrand, DMD/François R. Herrmann, MD, MPH/Nicole von Steinbüchel, Prof Dr Hum Biol, Dipl Psych/Frauke Müller, Dr Med Dent Habil

PMID: 25010878
DOI: 10.11607/ijp.3813

Purpose: The study aimed to investigate the personality judgments made by observers of elderly individuals with different dental appearances. Materials and Methods: A random sample of 120 elderly (57 men, 63 women; third age: n = 51, mean age: 68.6 ± 5.0 years; fourth age: n = 69, mean age: 85.8 ± 3.0 years) and 120 young (54 men, 66 women; mean age: 24.9 ± 3.5 years) subjects were included. Decayed, natural, and ideal dental appearances were simulated on photographs of an elderly man and woman. Participants were asked to judge the personality traits of two randomly selected photographs. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed. Results: Both groups judged the photographs similarly by attributing a higher social class to the individuals with an ideal dental appearance (elderly group: P = .0295 for the male subject, P = .0420 for the female subject; young group: P = .0003 for the male subject, P = .0042 for the female subject). This difference was less obvious when only the third-age participants were analyzed; they attributed a higher social class to the photograph of the man with a natural dental appearance than to the man with decayed and ideal appearances (P = .0322 and P = .0092, respectively) and lower intellectual capacities to the woman with a decayed appearance (P = .0351). The fourth-age subgroup made no such distinction. Conclusions: Personality judgments made by young and elderly persons are influenced by dental appearance. However, in the very old subgroup, no such influence could be verified. Dental esthetics should not be neglected in dental care for elderly patients. Int J Prosthodont 2014;27:348–354. doi: 10.11607/ijp.3813

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