National Survey Uncovers Consumer Confusion in Attaining Perfect Smile

Posted: February 17, 2020
Edited by Orthotown staff

BREA, Calif.—A Ormco-sponsored survey reveals consumers are confused about the teeth-straightening options available today and whether an orthodontist is even needed to manage the process of attaining a beautiful, healthy smile.

The online survey of more than 1,000 adults, commissioned by Propeller Research, found that a smile ranked as the No. 1 physical trait of a first impression; yet, not even half of the adults surveyed (46%) feel confident with their smiles. The survey also uncovered how even though approximately 9 out of 10 parents rank teeth straightening as their highest priority as a financial investment for their children’s long-term success, they are not doing the research to make well-informed treatment decisions. 

In response to this survey, Ormco has created, a website designed to help educate people that not all treatments, doctors, and even smiles are created equal, and to illuminate and debunk the myths around teeth-straightening treatment options.

“Investing in an orthodontic treatment can be an amazing, life-changing experience,” says Lisa Lee Freeman, consumer and shopping expert. “But most people don’t spend the time to understand their options so they can choose the best treatment for them. It’s an investment designed to last a lifetime, and correcting a smile is not a one-size-fits-all process. Also, new advancements may lead to less painful and clunky treatment and better smiles. Finding the right doctor is key. Smile results vary by doctor and the type of braces or aligners used. Many people don’t realize that not all doctors use the same treatments and not everyone is a good candidate for all treatments. An orthodontist has extensive training and experience to help you achieve the best outcome and create a healthy, gorgeous smile.”

According to the survey, Americans (adults and parents) believe in the importance of straight teeth and a beautiful smile. However, the majority of respondents (76% of adults and 65% of parents) did fewer than three hours of research when making orthodontic treatment decisions for themselves and their children, and 20% of parents and 37% of adults did less than one hour of research.

“People spend more time planning a birthday party or researching hotels for a vacation than they do getting smart about a medical treatment they rank as the No. 1 financial investment in their appearance and their child’s long-term happiness," Freeman said.

Key survey findings include:

A “smile” ranked as the #1 physical trait of a first impression among adults and parents.iii
When asked to prioritize physical issues they would fix if they were an issue for them or their children, both adults and parents ranked straightening teeth as their No. 1 priority.
70% of both parents and adults cited they would consider an aligner sold directly by a manufacturer that did not involve any orthodontist or dentist, thereby removing the doctor from the process of tooth and root movement. 
43% of parents seek orthodontic treatment for their children because they believe it will help them be more successful in life, and approximately 38% believe it will help prevent bullying or judgment.
Adults rate teeth straightening No. 1 over some self-improvements, including cosmetic surgery.
Adults who seek adult orthodontic treatment cite the top 5 reasons for doing so are to boost confidence (59%), attractiveness (55%), health reasons (45%), reduce judgment from others (24%) and help with career success (20%).  

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