Photographic and videographic assessment of the smile: Objective and subjective evaluations of posed and spontaneous smiles

Joan F. Walder, Katherine Freeman, Mitchell J. Lipp, Olivier F. Nicolay, George J. Cisneros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Esthetic considerations play an increasingly important role in patient care, and clinicians need a methodology that includes imaging techniques to capture the dynamic nature of the smile. Photographs of the posed smile are routinely used to guide diagnosis and treatment, but there is no standardized and validated method for recording the dynamic smile. The purposes of this study were to (1) determine whether a posed smile is reproducible, (2) compare visual and verbal cues in eliciting a smile, and (3) compare the diagnostic value of videography and photography in evaluating a patient's smile. Methods The smiles of 22 subjects were simultaneously photographed and videotaped on 2 separate occasions. For objective comparisons, measurements of the smile were obtained from 8 × 10 color still photographs and selected digitized video images. A panel consisting of a layperson, an oral surgeon, an orthodontist, and a prosthodontist subjectively assessed the reproducibility of the smile, posed vs spontaneous smiles, and the diagnostic value of video vs still images. Results Objective measurements showed that the posed smile can be reliably reproduced, whether captured by videography or still photography. However, subjectively, the panel members detected differences between the posed smiles taken on different days 80% of the time. The clinician panel members expressed a strong preference for videography over photography and for the spontaneous over the posed smiles. Conclusions This study emphasizes the need to continue to investigate and standardize the methods of eliciting and recording a smile of diagnostic quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-801
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthodontics


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