Edition V16N01 | Year 2011 | Editorial Article | Pages 68 to 74
Objective: This study investigated how 80 dental professionals and 80 lay persons, patients from private practice offices and from the School of Dentistry, Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES), perceived the presence of changes in the gingival plane. Methods: A photograph of a smiling young woman was digitally modified to produce symmetrical changes in the gingival height of the central incisors and lateral incisors, thereby causing the gingival plane to ascend progressively. Individuals were asked to choose the most pleasant looking picture and thereafter the interviewer questioned each individual to find out if they knew what was being changed in the sequence of pictures, i.e., whether or not they were able to identify changes in the gingival plane. Results: The results showed a significant prevalence in the selection of a harmonious gingival plane in the group of dentists and patients (p<0.001 and 0.05, respectively). Furthermore, there were no significant differences between the specialties comprised in the group of dentists (p = 0.538), which was the case in the lay group (p = 0.05), showing a greater perception on the part of the group of dental office patients. Identification of changes in the gingival plane was significant in the group of dentists (p<0.001) without significant differences between group specialties. Neither was it significant in the lay group (p = 0.100). The results also highlight a significantly higher ability to identify problems in the group of dentists compared to the lay group (p<0.001). Conclusion: It was therefore concluded that symmetrical changes greater than 2 mm can be perceived by both dentists and lay people. Moreover, no differences were found in this perception among the dental specialties. Finally, the group of dental office patients was significantly more perceptive than UFES patients.