Dental work to improve an individual's smile could boost self-confidence, a survey has found. An Ipsos-MORI survey has found that as many as 19 million people feel their self-confidence could be boosted by dental work to improve their smile.

Nearly one in three adults (30%) said having attractive teeth would help overcome embarrassment about personal appearance and 46% believed an attractive smile could improve their appearance.

The survey was commissioned by orthodontist Dr Andrew McCance, who has invested half a million pounds in research at University College London to create a three-dimensional surgical technique to aid surgeons treating facial abnormality.

Commenting on the survey, Dr McCance said, 'Anxiety about their appearance means people quite literally cannot grin and bear it. Their embarrassment with their facial appearance has hampered their careers or stopped them forming relationships. To put it at its simplest, they've been too embarrassed by crooked teeth or misshapen jaws to risk a smile and people should not live like that.'

The survey which comprised a nationally-representative sample of people aged over 15 years of age throughout Great Britain, found that 1.25 million adults feel generally less attractive because they have not had corrective orthodontic treatment. The same number say their unattractive smile has prevented them from laughing and smiling as much as they would like. Almost a million adults believe their unattractive smile has lowered their self-esteem and a similar number say it causes them difficulty in meeting people face-to-face.