In today’s society, social media has changed the way we connect. While it certainly has its perks, it also carries a few cons. We can all experience the face-tuning trend that turns selfies into visions of unattainable perfection. The trend is causing patients in the orthodontic world to turn to their doctors to answer one glaring question: Can orthodontics fix my facial asymmetry?
Facial asymmetry can be a source of insecurity for many people. While our Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics team encourages a healthy sense of body positivity, we’re here to explain the orthodontics behind facial asymmetry and ways you can gain back your self-confidence without the filters.
What is facial asymmetry, anyway?
Facial asymmetry is the imbalance of your facial structures on either side of your face. It is important to remember that nearly everyone has some degree of facial asymmetry. It is part of being human to have some slight asymmetry caused by genetics, facial growth as you get older, or the way your jaw is structured.
Usually, this slight asymmetry goes unnoticed or is considered an integral part of what makes you you, but in some more severe cases of asymmetry, anxieties and insecurities may arise. Asymmetries may cause a “weak” chin, sunken cheeks, or double chins, and many patients with more noticeable cases feel pressed to find a solution.
We typically chalk it up to your bite when it comes to the orthodontic side of facial asymmetry.
Types of Bites
Everyone’s mouth is different, and everyone has some bite that falls into one of several categories. Each bite pattern tells of your jaw structure, which plays a huge role in facial symmetry. The first step Dr. Yu will take toward addressing your facial asymmetry concerns is determining your bite pattern.
Overbites are arguably the most common bite pattern. If your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth when your mouth is closed, you may have an overbite. Not every overbite needs correction, but more severe overbites may cause your chin to have a receding appearance known as a “weak” chin.
You can recognize an underbite by a protruding lower jaw that causes the bottom teeth to rest in front of the top teeth when your mouth is closed. People with underbites may see the most significant change in facial symmetry with orthodontic treatment with Dr. Yu.
Crossbites consist of what looks like a mix of the above two malocclusions (bite patterns) so that in this pattern, some of the front teeth overlap the bottom teeth, and some rest behind the bottom teeth.
You can recognize an open bite by the distinctive gap between the top and bottom teeth – they don’t meet in the middle. While this bite pattern can cause issues, including difficulty chewing, it can also cause the face to appear longer, meaning that people with it may also see significant results with orthodontic treatment.
How can my orthodontist help with asymmetry?
Asymmetry is best addressed when caught at a young age. The jawline and face structure are still growing and changing, which means they adapt much more readily to orthodontic treatment. Even still, Dr. Yu can still correct facial asymmetry in older patients with braces and, in more severe cases, corrective jaw surgery.
Typically, depending on the unique characteristics of your teeth, Dr. Yu will use one of several treatment methods to attempt to bring your bite pattern to a more neutral position with a process called intercuspation. The goal of intercuspation is to align your teeth. The hope is that by aligning your teeth, your face and jaw angles are adjusted to produce a more symmetrical effect without physically changing any of your other facial features. Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics offers the treatment options below to help you feel more attractive.
As the traditional option, metal braces are often the first to consider orthodontic treatment. We use Damon metal braces to give patients of all ages a more comfortable treatment experience. These braces work by tightening the wire attached to a bracket glued to each tooth. Gentle, continuous pressure will guide your teeth over 12-36 months, depending on the severity of your case, your mouth’s response to treatment, and your desired outcome.
Clear braces work the same way as metal braces. The difference is that clear braces use translucent ceramic brackets that blend in with the color of your teeth and provide a less noticeable appearance. Clear braces are an excellent option for adults and teens who have cosmetic concerns about their treatment.
This removable treatment option uses a series of clear trays that adjust your teeth without wires or brackets. Because they are clear, this option allows you to straighten your teeth with an almost invisible look. By wearing these trays for 22 hours per day for 9-15 months, you’ll see results in no time.
Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics Gets the Job Done
At Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics in Portland and Windham, we’ll work with you one-on-one to get your desired results. We don’t want insecurities around facial asymmetry to get in the way of your unique and beautiful smile, and orthodontic treatment can be a step in the right direction to addressing your concerns. If you’re ready to meet with Dr. Yu to discuss how orthodontics might help you, schedule an appointment for your free consultation!