Perception of dental appearance in an out patient population seeking oral healthcare in a Nigerian tertiary Institution.
Objectives: To determine the perception of dental aesthetics among a population of Nigerian general out patients seeking oral care at the National hospital and to explore the correlation between background variables such as age, gender, dwelling place (urban/rural) and educational level with perception of dental aesthetics. Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study of all first-visit patients either referred from the general outpatient or walk-in-patients at the dental outpatient department of the National hospital, Abuja. The questionnaire used was an adaptation of that from a previously published study and consisted of 3 sections; sociodemographics, perceptions and attitudes to tooth appearance and clinical examination to determine the condition of the anterior teeth. All data was analysed using IBM SPSS 26.0. Results: Less than half (46.7%) of the respondents were of the opinion that very white teeth are the most beautiful teeth. However, majority of the respondents perceived very white teeth as not being natural (67.5%).There was a decrease in proportion of respondents who disagreed that very white teeth are the most beautiful teeth with increasing age. The status of the anterior teeth of the respondents was associated with the perception that very white teeth are the most beautiful teeth. Conclusion: Function seems a more important factor than aesthetic appearance in the provision of restorative treatment. Also, perceptive importance of dental appearance is a weighty concept that can easily be overlooked. It varies from age to age; level of education, occupation;and place of abode but not influenced by gender.