In recent years, facial symmetry has been the talk of the town. From magazines to TikTok, the world of fashion and beauty has been obsessed with perfectly symmetrical faces and evenly balanced facial features. The argument that print and online communities make is that symmetry equals perfection and that perfection equals beauty. While Dillehay Orthodontics aims to promote a healthy body image we know that the reality of the matter is that these cultural ideals can cause a lot of insecurity for our patients. So can orthodontics really be the answer to fixing facial asymmetry?
What is Facial Asymmetry?
Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and typically, beauty is a culturally-based standard, some universal understandings of beauty are universal: facial symmetry is one of them. On the other hand, facial asymmetry is the appearance of uneven facial features that, according to research, humans correlate to the physical attractiveness of a person. While subconscious indicators of facial symmetry signal attraction in our brains, a misaligned bite or jawline could throw that slightly off-kilter and put you at a disadvantage.
Besides physical attractiveness, facial asymmetry can also cause a range of different health issues. Asymmetry can be an indicator of a severely misaligned jaw which may cause TMJ disorder or even sleep apnea. It can disrupt the way you speak and eat and can be the reason you experience chronic headaches as well.
Everyone has some degree of facial asymmetry, but to achieve that desired aesthetic or prevent further health issues, many people turn to their orthodontists for help.
Causes of Facial Asymmetry
Usually, an individual’s unique jaw alignment or bite pattern is the culprit of asymmetry.
In an ideal world, for both attraction and function, you would have a slight overbite which would 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. Let’s take a look at the different bite patterns that may cause facial asymmetry:
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 is in need of correction, but more severe overbites may cause your chin to have a receding appearance known as a “weak” chin.
Underbites are recognized 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 greatest change in facial symmetry with the implementation of an orthodontic treatment plan.
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 will 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 pose a range of issues including difficulty chewing, it can also cause the face to appear longer, meaning that people with this bite pattern may also see significant results with orthodontic treatment.
How can Orthodontics help?
If facial asymmetry is the root of your insecurity, chances are you already know many of the causes and effects and are instead looking for solutions. Fortunately, Dillehay Orthodontics has over 50 years of experience dealing with the very same issues you are worried about. Our team already has a handful of tools to make sure you feel confident with your smile.
As the traditional option, metal braces are often the first that come to mind when considering orthodontic treatment. These braces work by tightening the wire attached to a bracket glued to each tooth. With gentle, continuous pressure, your teeth are aligned over a period of 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 white, ceramic brackets that blend in with the color of your teeth and provide a less noticeable appearance.
This removable treatment option uses a series of clear trays that adjust your teeth without the use of wires or brackets. Because they are clear, this option allows you to straighten your teeth with a look that is almost invisible. By wearing these trays for 22 hours per day for 9-15 months, you’ll see results in no time.
This virtually invisible alternative to traditional braces is applied to the back of your teeth for a far more comfortable experience, both physically and emotionally. If that weren’t enough, this treatment method can even render results in as little as 12-24 weeks.
Corrective Jaw Surgery
Now reserved for extreme cases that are unresponsive to alternative treatments, corrective jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery is a relatively simple procedure that has outstanding effects on facial symmetry. This surgery is performed by a trained oral and maxillofacial surgeon, so you will know you are in good hands. Ask our doctors if this option is right for you.
Dillehay Orthodontics has your back – and your smile!
If you are experiencing insecurity around facial asymmetry, don’t let social media get you down. Instead, put your trust in the 50 years of experience you’ll find at Dillehay Orthodontics. Our team is knowledgeable, friendly, and eager to help put you at ease on your smile journey. We even have a free consultation to help get you started!