Here's what the Society learned:
It's the economy. More than half of survey respondents have delayed dental treatments, including regular check-up, cleanings and treatment for a dental problem because of financial reasons in the past year. Additionally, nearly 35 percent of survey respondents did not have dental health insurance coverage.
Your first impression comes from your smile. Forty percent of survey respondents claim a person's smile is the first physical attribute they notice when meeting someone for the first time.
People want to keep those pearly whites.white. More than half of survey respondents have tried some kind of teeth-whitening treatment. The most popular, and perhaps easiest, treatment was using whitening toothpaste. Ten percent of respondents had gotten their teeth whitened at a dentist's office.
Straight teeth make a "perfect" smile. Forty-four percent of Chicagoans say straight teeth are the most important part of a "perfect" smile. Bright, white teeth are also key, according to more than 25 percent of respondents.
Word of mouth still counts. Thirty-three percent of residents surveyed found their dentist through word-of-mouth referral. Web searches accounted for 14 percent of responses. Only two percent say they found a dentist through Facebook or Twitter; and only two percent of survey respondents had purchased a Groupon for a dental service.
Toothbrush sharing: gross or convenient? Fifteen percent of respondents admitted they have shared a toothbrush with another person.
Some patients will travel far and wide for their dentists. Nearly 25 percent of Chicagoans surveyed travel up to 30 miles to see their practitioner. Now that's dedication.
The survey was conducted for the Chicago Dental Society's 146th annual Midwinter Meeting, which will bring more than 30,000 dental professionals to Chicago this February. The Midwinter Meeting is a forum for dentists to learn about new products, technologies, and methods.