What is the first thing you notice about someone when you meet them? For most people, it’s the person’s smile. That smile says a lot about a person.
Are they confident and outgoing, or are they more reserved and shy?
Beyond your smile, people typically notice the symmetry of your face next. Most people have some degree of asymmetry. Some people have uneven eyes. Some people have different-sized nostrils. Some people even have unproportionate jaw alignment. It’s more normal than not to have an asymmetrical face. Sometimes, though, our facial asymmetry is more pronounced and may even cause or be a cause of other oral or general health concerns.
Here at Smith & Heymann Orthodontics, we straighten smiles but care about the person. We know that having an asymmetrical face and smile can affect your confidence and overall oral health. We are passionate about helping you achieve the symmetry that will give you a radiant and healthy smile. Let’s take a look at the relationship between your facial symmetry and the ways orthodontic treatment can fix your smile and your confidence.
Effects of Facial Asymmetry
Studies have found that the symmetry of one’s face can affect how attractive one appears to others and that humans usually prefer a more symmetrical look. This idea can lead some patients to seek orthodontic treatment to achieve their desired aesthetic. While nobody has perfect facial symmetry, there are cases where your asymmetry may be more than just aesthetically complicated. Facial asymmetry can disrupt the way you speak and eat and even cause jaw or head pains when it comes to functionality.
In some patients, facial asymmetry is actually a symptom or side effect of an underlying and undiagnosed issue like sleep apnea or a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. These conditions can have a much more drastic impact on your health than just a crooked smile. At Smith & Heymann Orthodontics in Chapel Hill, Durham, Mebane, and Roxboro, our experienced team can provide specialized care for your unique needs to give you the smile you deserve. Your family deserves honest, compassionate care delivered with state-of-the-art technology, so Dr. Smith, Dr. Heymann, Dr. Skillestad, and their team work hard to put a smile on your face.
Causes of Facial Asymmetry
The most common culprit of facial asymmetry is your jaw alignment or bite. For ideal symmetry and function, you should have a very slight overbite to allow for talking and chewing and prevent excess wear and strain on your teeth and gums. Patients with severe overbites or other bite issues like a crossbite or underbite notice more disruption in the uniformity of their facial structure.
You may think that if you managed to make it to adulthood with a pretty symmetrical face, you’re in the clear. While that is typically true, and while your bones are no longer growing, your cartilage is, and it can alter your facial symmetry as you age. But there are other reasons you may find yourself facing asymmetry that you may not have thought about besides genetics and aging, such as uneven muscles, accidents, and infections.
There are also very serious health conditions that can cause facial asymmetry that is not likely to be corrected with orthodontics. When there is reduced blood flow to the brain, it can cause a person to suffer a stroke. Drooping of one side of the face after the stroke can often result in a noticeable imbalance and asymmetry. Another medical condition called Graves disease causes fatty tissue accumulates in the lower face making the lower cheeks and jawline appear too wide for the face as a whole.
How can Orthodontics help?
If you have issues with facial asymmetry, there’s a good chance you already know about it and have wondered what could be done. Well, luckily, our doctors and their skilled team have plenty of experience in correcting facial asymmetry with advanced options. We can evaluate the relationship between your facial features and your oral health to create a treatment plan that best fits your needs! Let’s look at a few ways we can help.
In the past, the most common and best-practiced solution to facial asymmetry was jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery. That procedure is now reserved for extreme cases and patients who are not likely to see adequate results from orthodontic treatments like braces. There are also some cases that your doctor will best solve with replacement, such as through implants and dental bridges.
For cases that are considered typical or mild, such as minor underbite or overbite, we utilize Damon self-ligating metal braces or even clear aligners like Invisalign to correct your symmetry. Don’t let the prospect of braces deter you from looking in the face of your dreams. This modern option uses metal brackets with spring-loaded clasps that eliminate the need for elastic bands that need tightening meaning less “chair time” and better results.
And for those patients looking for the bang of traditional braces without the buck of an adolescent appearance, clear and ceramic braces swap that metal for a clear or tooth-colored ceramic that makes your orthodontic treatment a bit more inconspicuous.
In certain situations where the facial asymmetry is caused by an upper jaw that is too small, a palatal expander is another orthodontic treatment option that uses high-grade metal bands attached to corresponding molars and joined high in the center of the roof of the mouth by a screw. This appliance is tightened at the screw with a special key daily to slowly and carefully expand the upper palate to create the desired symmetry.
In most cases, a patient’s facial asymmetry is resolved with non-invasive treatments and by pairing state-of-the-art technology with our thorough understanding of the movement and growth of the teeth and jaws.
Trust Smith & Heymann Orthodontics for a sparkling and symmetric smile!
Your smile is in the best hands! Our doctors and their team at Smith & Heymann Orthodontics are dedicated to giving you the best-personalized care using the latest orthodontic technologies and treatments. Our care is based on the foundation of honesty, integrity, and excellence.
Schedule a FREE consultation with us when you’re ready to start your orthodontic journey to facial symmetry! We offer multiple appointment times at two comfortable and convenient offices. Excellent orthodontic care is only a few minutes from your home, work, or school. We can’t wait to help you discover your hidden smile!