In conjunction with last month’s 146th annual Midwinter Meeting, the Chicago Dental Society surveyed area residents about their dental habits and care. Nearly 400 people from Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties responded. Here are some of the highlights:

More than half of survey respondents have delayed dental treatments, including regular check-ups, cleanings, and treatment for dental problems, because of financial reasons in the past year. Nearly 35% did not have dental health insurance.

On the other hand, 40% of survey respondents agreed that a smile is the first physical attribute they notice when meeting someone for the first time, and more than half have tried some kind of teeth-whitening treatment. Ten percent of respondents had gotten their teeth whitened at a dentist’s office.

In good news for orthodontists, 44% of Chicagoans said straight teeth are the most important part of a "perfect" smile, with white teeth a distant second.

When it came to finding someone to care for their teeth, 33% of residents surveyed found their dentist through word-of-mouth referral, 14% from a Web search, and 2% through Facebook or Twitter. Once they found a practice they liked, they were willing to make an effort to get there: nearly 25% of respondents travel up to 30 miles to see their dentist.