One fear that people have when they are about to undergo orthodontic treatment is that the shape of their face will change. It is a fair concern… people are generally pretty attached to the way their face looks.
Can Braces Change Your Face? Generally, the shape of the face stays the same. However, there are certain cases that the shape of the face would change.
Sometimes, extractions (pulling out of some teeth) can change the shape of the face because the mouth is less full. This is usually a positive change because people who compensate for too much tooth mass in a jaw that isn’t big enough to support it, can have trouble closing their lips around their teeth. With extractions, once the orthodontic treatment is complete, there are no spaces left over and the results are beautiful!
The most obvious change are in more severe circumstances where people have severe misalignment of the jaw. In severe cases, braces alone cannot fix the problem because it is actually a skeletal problem, not a tooth problem. These cases require a surgical procedure that re-aligns the jaws. In these cases, there is a change in the shape of the face, but most people who get surgery have a desire to change their face because the original alignment of the jaws is not ideal.
Some examples of cases that require surgical procedures are:
In this case, the lower teeth rest outside the upper teeth and the lower jaw is positioned further forward than is natural or healthy. Braces combined with surgery and elastics are used to reposition the jaw back so that the lower teeth move behind the upper teeth, which moves the chin back.
This happens when the upper jaw grows more than the lower jaw. As a result, the upper front teeth are positioned too far ahead of the lower teeth, causing a big gap between the upper and lower teeth when they are closed. The upper lip juts out and the chin can look short (a double chin is usually unavoidable in these cases). In addition, it can be uncomfortable for the person to fully close their mouths. In many cases we can do this with braces and elastics, however, in some cases, surgery is recommended.
A crossbite occurs when the upper jaw is narrow compared to the lower jaw. As a result, the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth; a position the can be damaging in the long-term.Some problems that can arise are significant wear to teeth, gum recession, and shifting of the jaw. It is best to treat this problem at an early age because it can be fixed without surgery. However, after the age of 14, a surgical approach is often required because the palate does eventually fuse and therefore, cannot be stretched.
This is what most people think about when they think about braces—fixing crooked teeth. Even though it is mainly the teeth that undergo the biggest change, the way a person’s lips rest and the symmetry of their face may change slightly. Most people do not notice much of a change in their face here.
One thing that is often common for people with crooked teeth or misaligned jaws is that they are self-conscious of their teeth and their smile. So, they will try to smile with their mouths closed or develop a habit to cover their mouth with their hand while they talk or laugh.
We have seen people come in for a consultation who are shy and insecure about the way they look. However, two years later when their braces are removed, they have a beaming smile that could light up a room.
So, do braces change the shape of a person’s face? It depends. Often it is a subtle process, and because the procedure happens gradually over a year or two, the change is hardly noticeable.
But the end result is usually one that people are happy and excited about, so there’s nothing to fear. It can make a big difference for people to undergo orthodontic treatment, and it’s usually very positive.
If you are considering orthodontic treatment, call us for a consultation and we’ll tell you how your life/smile can change! Call South Surrey Smiles today! 604-542-5420.
Dr. Lesley Williams is a Certified Specialist in Orthodontics. She grew up in Victoria, BC with her parents and two sisters.
After being awarded her Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree in 1989, Dr. Williams then spent six years as a dentist in general practice before deciding that she wanted to further her education by undertaking three extra years of highly specialized training in orthodontics. With her Masters in Science (Orthodontics) degree under her belt, she went on to sit the Orthodontic Specialty Fellowship exams through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. To date, her status as an active leader in the orthodontic profession means that she holds the following qualifications and positions:
- Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
- Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics
- Examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and the American Board of Orthodontics.
- Former president of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (representing 2900 orthodontists from the 4 western Canadian provinces and 8 western American states).
- Active member of the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists.