Braces aren’t just for giving you that flawless, camera-ready smile; they have another superpower hidden up their sleeves — correcting facial asymmetry!
If you’ve ever caught yourself studying your face in the mirror, feeling a little thrown off by a lack of balance in your features, then it’s time you knew: an orthodontic treatment plan could very well be the answer to your concerns.
And no, it’s not all about metal braces, brackets, and wires anymore. The field of orthodontics has evolved at lightning speed, bringing us an array of treatments able to fix facial asymmetry concerns. Tag along as we dive into how braces and other orthodontic treatments can get you there!
Everything About Correcting Facial Asymmetry
How Do We Define Facial Asymmetry?
Facial asymmetry basically means that one side of your face doesn’t exactly match the other: maybe one eye is a smidge higher or one side of your mouth curving more when you smile.
Here’s an interesting fact: nobody’s face is perfectly symmetrical! Take a photo of your face, split it in half, and mirror each side; you’ll see two pretty different faces. Our faces are like fingerprints — no two are exactly the same!
However, in medical terms, “facial asymmetry” is noticeable even without the help of photos or mirrors. In such instances, the condition is attributable to a congenital issue or factors like aging, loss of teeth, or even sleeping on one side of your face a lot.
Sometimes, sudden changes in facial symmetry point toward serious medical conditions, such as a stroke. If you ever notice a sudden or drastic change in your face, it’s always best to see a doctor just to be safe.
What Orthodontic Issues Lead to an Asymmetrical Face?
Our teeth and jaws play a significant role in shaping our faces. And when they’re not lined up quite right, they can mess with our facial symmetry. So, let’s chat a bit about orthodontic issues and how they might cause an asymmetrical face!
Crossbites occur when the upper and lower teeth don’t meet up correctly, like trying to close a shoe box with one side of the lid hanging over the edge. This condition causes the jaw to shift to one side, leading, over time, to an asymmetrical face.
An open bite occurs when your upper and lower teeth don’t meet up properly when your mouth is closed. Imagine trying to bite into a sandwich, but your front and bottom teeth don’t actually touch.
If you have an open bite, your facial muscles will start to overcompensate for that gap between your teeth, causing changes in your facial structure over time.
Imagine you’re chomping down on a big, juicy burger. When you bite, your top and bottom teeth overlap a bit — that’s normal. But with an overbite, it’s like your upper teeth decided to throw a party and didn’t tell your lower teeth — they come down way too far over the lower ones!
An underbite is like having an overbite but in reverse, with your lower jaw jutting out farther than your upper jaw. An underbite can change your facial structure, making your chin more prominent on one side.
Missing Teeth and Uneven Tooth Growth
Lastly, missing teeth or uneven tooth growth can lead to facial asymmetry, too. When you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth can start to shift into the empty space, throwing off the balance of your face. Likewise, teeth that are significantly different in size or shape on one side of your mouth can create facial asymmetry.
Is Asymmetry Indicative of Something Worse?
While everyone exhibits a certain degree of facial asymmetry, more noticeable or sudden changes in the face’ structure might be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
One such condition is Bell’s palsy, characterized by one side of your face suddenly becoming weak or paralyzed. One side of the face droops, making it harder for patients to smile or close the affected eye. Fortunately, Bell’s palsy is often temporary and most people fully recover over time.
Facial asymmetry is a potential symptom of TMJ disorders, which affect the joint connecting your jaw to the side of your head.
Lastly, in rare instances, facial asymmetries can be caused by tumors or growths.
Can Braces Help Facial Asymmetry?
Braces are fantastic at moving your teeth and fixing bite issues, which can certainly contribute to the overall balance of your facial features.
An overbite, underbite, or crossbite can make your face look a bit asymmetrical. Once braces correct the bite, you will see a change in your face shape. But, it’s important to remember that braces mainly focus on the teeth and not the actual jawbone.
If your facial asymmetry is caused by the jaw, traditional braces will not offer a significant benefit. Jaw alignment issues require more intensive treatments, like orthognathic surgery. That’s something your orthodontist and oral surgeon would have to evaluate.
The benefits of braces on your facial symmetry are subtle, occurring over long stretches of time. While you will not wake up one day looking drastically different, over time, you will notice more balanced facial features!
Orthodontic Treatments to Fix Facial Asymmetry
Fixing facial asymmetry with orthodontics opens you to a variety of treatment methods!
If it’s a case of wonky teeth causing your face to look a little lopsided, braces or clear aligners will do the trick. These appliances put continuous pressure on your teeth, slowly moving them into the correct positions and balancing out your facial features.
Another type of braces, called functional braces, are typically used in kids and teens whose jaws are still growing to correct a misaligned jaw structure.
If the asymmetry is due to a significant jaw imbalance, your orthodontic treatment plan will need to include orthognathic surgery.
Finally, for some patients, a palatal expander is necessary to widen the upper jaw, improving the way the teeth fit together and enhancing facial symmetry.
Ready to Address Your Facial Asymmetry? Patuxent Orthodontics is Here to Help!
Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if orthodontic care is the way to achieve the beautiful smile of your dreams! Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of our orthodontic services or simply have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (240) 802-7217 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a free consultation! Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in California, Lexington Park, and Great Mills and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in MD, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!
- Watson, Kathryn. “Asymmetrical Face: Causes, Treatments, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 20 Apr. 2023, www.healthline.com/health/asymmetrical-face. Accessed 18 May 2023.
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- “Asymmetrical Face: Causes, Treatment and More.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/asymmetrical-face. Accessed 18 May 2023.
- “Underbite: Why Does It Happen and Can It Be Fixed?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/oral-health/what-to-know-about-underbite. Accessed 18 May 2023.