Aim: To (1) determine if there are different preferences among general dentists, a combined group of dental specialists, and orthodontists concerning whether a patient with congenitally missing lateral incisors should have the teeth restored or if the canines should be orthodontically moved into the position of the missing teeth; (2) determine the role that esthetics and function of the final result has on the respondents’ treatment preferences; and (3) compare the respondents’ opinions about treatment preferences to their rankings of esthetics reported in part 1. Methods: The questionnaire accompanied the photographic evaluation in part 1. Percentages were computed and chi-squares were used to compare response patterns. Results: Compared to orthodontists, a significantly greater percentage of general dentists and combined dental specialists would restore the lateral incisors and would do so primarily for esthetic reasons. Interestingly, for those dental professionals who responded that the missing teeth should be restored, many did not rank any photograph of a restorative option as the best option. Conclusions: Dental professionals should attempt to eliminate their personal opinions when recommending treatment options for a congenitally missing maxillary lateral incisor because discrepancies exist between the treatment result judged as most esthetic and the one most likely to be recommended.
World J Orthod 2005;6:376–381.