Researchers from the Eastman Dental Institute at University College London have found that changing occlusal plane angle can affect the attractiveness of a patient’s smile, according to an article on

To determine the influence of the occlusal plane angle on smile attractiveness, the researchers enlisted 66 adult orthodontic patients and 66 dentists. The researchers recorded changes in vertical tooth position at different occlusal plane angles using a maxillary model mounted on an articulator. They then photographically manipulated the data to produce a computerized prediction of the appearance of the smile at five different occlusal plane angles: 0º, 5º, 10º, 15º, and 20º. Participants then assessed the five developed photographs.

The researchers found that alterations in the occlusal plane angle did affect relative smile attractiveness for both patients and dentists; however, patients were found to be more tolerant of these changes than dentists.

For patients, the 10º smile was rated better than the 0º and 20º smiles (p<0.01). For dentists, the 15º smile was rated better than the 0º and 20º smiles (p<0.01). The 5º, 10º, and 15º smiles were indistinguishable for dentists.

The researchers conclude that while small changes are unlikely to affect smile attractiveness, large changes in the occlusal plane would affect relative smile attractiveness.

Their findings appear in the journal Angle Orthodontist.