Can braces change the shape of my face?
Worried about braces changing your face shape?
Written by NoFrills Dental
This dental article has been curated by the clinical team @ NoFrills Dental 🙂
October 12, 2021
Can braces change the shape of my face?
Everyone knows about braces! Ask anyone on the street in Singapore and they can tell you with confidence that braces straighten and improve the alignment of teeth. Braces are a popular treatment option for those who want to straighten crooked teeth and be more confident about their smile. It produces precise, controlled movements of teeth in three dimensions. Treatment for braces normally commences when all the permanent teeth have erupted and lasts over a period of 18-24 months.
A very common question that patients normally ask their dentist is whether or not braces have the capability to change the shape of their facial profile. In this article, we aim to answer some of your questions surrounding this topic and give you a brief introduction on jaw (orthognathic surgery). Brace yourselves!
What aspects of my facial profile can braces change?
Braces can have a positive impact on your face shape and features by bringing your teeth into alignment.
Their main functions are mainly to:
- Create space for tooth movement if your teeth are crowded,
- Fix your midline if your teeth are positioned more towards to one side,
- Push teeth inwards if they are protruding and,
- Create a better bite.
The most noticeable changes that patients report back after braces will be the position of their lips (mainly the upper lip) and facial symmetry. The most common example will be for patients who have their top and bottom teeth sticking out and unable to bring your lips together when you are in a relaxed position (lip incompetence). Your orthodontist will arrange for the removal of two or four of your premolars to create space for the braces to bring your teeth backwards. The extra space created from the extractions not only corrects protrusions, but allows your lips to retract, improving the patient’s strain upon closing their lips. In these cases, braces can help to retract the teeth to give patients a ‘softer’ facial profile.
Braces can also vastly improve an asymmetrical face. By shifting teeth and jawbones, the angles between your lips and nose change as well. This can make the placement of your nose look a little different in relation to the rest of your face .
Our face shape also changes according to the type of foods we consume. Patients wearing braces tend to steer clear of hard and sticky foods which can damage the wires or bands. This means that their masseter muscles (a powerful muscle that aids in chewing) on either side of the jaw are less active than normal. The muscles shrink in size and are less prominent, making your face have a contoured ‘V’ shape. However, just bear in mind that this feature varies amongst patients and is not a direct result of braces treatment per se.
Everyone has a unique orthodontic treatment plan and no two cases are the same. If you have queries of how your profile will look post-ortho treatment, it is best to speak to your orthodontist or dentist.
Good communication is the key to successful treatment.
What aspects of my facial profile cannot braces change?
Braces move teeth and just the bone that holds all your teeth together. They do not have a direct impact on your cheekbones, the angle of your jaw or chin position. Contrary to popular belief, braces cannot make your jawline more defined or cheekbones higher. Changing the shape and position of your jawbones is something only surgery can do.
Combined orthodontic treatment and orthognathic jaw surgery will usually have a positive impact on your face.
Orthognathic surgery (Corrective jaw treatment) is a multi-disciplinary treatment process that encompasses both orthodontics and maxillofacial surgery. It is used to treat a combination of discrepancies or abnormalities concerned with the jaw, face and dentition such as asymmetry, protruded or retruded chin, severe deep bites and post-traumatic facial injuries.
“I am happy with the shape of my face and don’t want anything changed!”
If you are happy with the way your face looks, your orthodontist can devise a treatment plan that straightens your teeth without altering your profile. You will still get that straight set of teeth, of course!
We hope this article helped you to understand how the position of your teeth, facial profile and lips all come into play when planning for braces. It’s a complex relationship that requires intricate detail and huge behind the scenes work from both the orthodontist and the patient. If you are thinking of getting that beautiful smile you’ve always longed for, make an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist for a personalized consultation and treatment plan today!
1. DoctorxDentist. n.d. Do braces change your facial profile?. [online] Available at: <https://www.doctorxdentist.com/questions/do-braces-change-your-facial-profile> [Accessed 1 October 2021].
2. Abdoney Orthodontics. 2018. I can’t close my lips: Can braces fix this?. [online] Available at: <https://abdoneyortho.com/i-cant-close-my-lips-can-braces-fix-this> [Accessed 1 October 2021].
3. Ibrahim, M., 2018. How do Braces Affect Your Face?. [online] Innovative Orthodontic Centers. Available at: <https://www.innovativeorthocenters.com/how-do-braces-affect-your-face/> [Accessed 1 October 2021].
4. Singhealth. 2018. Orthognathic Surgery. [online] Available at: <https://www.singhealth.com.sg/patient-care/conditions-treatments/orthognathic-surgery> [Accessed 1 October 2021].
5. Cunningham, S. and Johal, A., 2015. Orthognathic correction of dento-facial discrepancies. British Dental Journal, 218(3), pp.167-175.
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