Orthodontics have become a new tool to recreate our smiles. For the longest time, orthodontic braces was a treatment only for children. Advances in orthodontic materials have led to changes in the appearance of orthodontic appliances, and increased speed of movement of our teeth. Orthodontics have become a treatment of choice for many teens and adults. There are multiple options for orthodontic treatment today to make them as aesthetic as possible with shorter treatment lengths along with more cosmetic appearance. While teeth are being moved, changes occur to the mouth, lips, chin, and cheeks. The million dollar question is…..Can Orthodontic treatment change a person’s facial appearance?
Once orthodontic treatment is completed, many patients will look in the mirror and notice changes in their facial appearance. The bigger change happen when exhibiting a full smile, as this will show off the new found symmetry of your smile. The change will be even more noticeable if there are major corrections during your orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic Corrections = Changing Facial Appearance
-Correction Of Overbite. An overbite can cause the upper lip to protrude outward. In very extreme cases the upper lip is so far advanced that the lips are not able to completely cover and close the mouth at rest. In side profile the upper lip flares and the convexity of the mid face is pronounced. After completion of orthodontic movement, the facial area from nose down to chin flattens and the appearance can soften.
-Correction Of Underbite. An underbite causes the chin to protrude and lower lip to retrude, giving you a “Moon Shape” profile. After orthodontic movement, the face loses much of this concavity. This again helps to flatten and soften the features, bringing the lips together in a more natural look. Underbite correction may in some cases require surgery.
-Open Bite Correction. Prior to correction, the mouth and lips may seem a bit overstretched. In more severe cases the lips do not touch at rest. After movement, The mid face appears more relaxed and the lips come together at rest. Severe open bite may require surgery to be fully corrected.
-Upper Or Lower Jaw Expansion. There are times when a patient has too little space in one or both of their arches. The middle of the face may be narrow, and cheeks a bit hollow. If space needs to be opened, a device is custom fabricated called an orthodontic expander. If it is used on top jaw it is referred to as a palatal expander and if used on lower jaw it is called a mandibular expander. Expanders are used more often on children but they can also be used on adults in coordination with surgery. The expansion is usually done in very small increments and usually will go unnoticed by many. A more symmetrical smile and wider mid face will be the end result.
Orthodontic treatment can change a person in multiple ways. These changes can include a bigger smile, straighter teeth, and balancing of one’s facial appearance. The changes to a person’s face are usually more pronounced when surgery is involved. A person’s side profile is what changes most dramatically. When teeth are in proper alignment, the profile of a person will be more in line with the rest of their facial features creating a more symmetrical balanced appearance.
The facial changes can usually be predicted prior to treatment. Ask your dentist what changes you can expect based on your individual smile.