Fluoride Action Network


OBJECTIVES: Few studies have considered people’s opinions about the esthetics of dental fluorosis. Assessments of fluorosis esthetics can be confounded by differences in a number of clinical factors, including tooth shape, color, contour, and gingival status. This pilot study compared esthetic perceptions of mild fluorosis and other conditions using computer-generated images made from a base set of normal appearing teeth. METHODS: Entering dental students (n = 61) completed questionnaires about four sets of paired photographs. Three sets consisted of fluorotic teeth (very mild to mild) versus other conditions (diastema, isolated enamel opacity, “normal”/control) and the other pair compared two presentations of mild fluorosis (generalized versus limited to incisal one-third). Six questions, both qualitative and quantitative, were asked about each pair of photographs. RESULTS: Mild fluorosis was assessed less favorably than normal/control, midline diastema was less favorable than mild fluorosis, and mild fluorosis was less favorable than isolated opacity. CONCLUSIONS: This approach allows fluorosis to be better compared with other oral conditions because the images are standardized. Additional research with this method is warranted, including more variations in conditions, more comparisons, and other study populations.