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Perceptions of individuals who frequently vs. occasionally whiten their teeth.

Purpose: The objective of this study was to compare perceptions of a group who frequently whiten (FWG) their teeth to achieve the whitest shade possible, with a group who are satisfied with occasional whitening (OWG).

Problem Statement: There is not enough dialogue between patients and practitioners concerning expectations of whitening outcomes. Practitioners need to initiate this dialogue so that consensus on color shade can be reached.

Methods: Twenty individuals in each group were recruited through e-mail from faculty, students and staff of a large university health sciences campus. Inclusion criteria for both groups included age 18 to 60, self-reported history of whitening and no history of dental industry employment for self/family. Inclusion in FWG also required a history of frequent whitening and teeth matching 1 of the initial 4 shades of the VITA Bleached guide 3D-Master. A 30 minute, 2-part oral interview was conducted with all subjects, which consisted of a 43-item questionnaire exploring perceived values and attitudes about teeth and a photographic survey of 22 digitally retouched stock photographs depicting 11 individuals with both a lighter and darker dentition shade. Subjects were asked to estimate the age of the individual pictured, to evaluate the appropriateness of tooth color and to explain their answers. Responses were tallied and constant comparative analysis utilized for qualitative data.

Results: FWG is somewhat more likely than OWG to evaluate age as younger when teeth are lighter. Also, FWG is more likely to feel that brighter teeth ale "just right" and darker teeth "too dark." OWG is somewhat more likely to assess that brighter teeth are "too light" than FWG. When asked what the appearance of one's teeth communicates to others, the most frequent answer from both groups was "overall health and well-being.'"

Conclusion: Differences in perceptions between individuals with varying whitening expectations can guide oral health care providers during consultation. Use of serially whitened photographs, such as those utilized in this study, can assist practitioners in initiating the necessary dialogue for reaching consensus on whitening expectations.

Terri S.I. Tilliss, RDH, PhD; Kari Amick, DMD

Department of Dental Hygiene, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Clinical Dental Hygiene Care--Original Research
Author:Tilliss, Terri S.I.; Amick, Kari
Publication:Journal of Dental Hygiene
Article Type:Author abstract
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2009
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