You only get one smile, and it’s the first thing most people notice about you. It can define so much of your personality and affect how you carry yourself. The symmetry of your face can determine whether you are outgoing and speak up for yourself and how you position yourself in photographs and interviews. The asymmetry can cause pain in some people’s jaw and head.
Here at Westfall Orthodontics, we know that having an asymmetrical face and smile can affect your confidence and your oral and overall 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 balance and the ways orthodontic treatment can fix your smile and your confidence.
Causes of Facial Asymmetry
Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Genetic causes of facial asymmetry could be tooth crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth, and even jaw growth problems. Some facial imbalances can be attributed to thumb- or finger-sucking, dental disease, accidents, early or late loss of baby teeth, or other incidents that result in bite irregularities.
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 face asymmetry that you may not have thought about besides genetics and aging, such as uneven muscles, accidents, and infections.
There are also severe health concerns that can cause facial asymmetry. Bell’s Palsy is a viral infection that causes facial paralysis of the muscles on one side of your face. Another less common condition is called Torticollis, or “twisted neck,” which causes your neck muscles to rest in an abnormal position and result in facial asymmetry. This typically only occurs in the womb, and both of these conditions are generally temporary.
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. While nobody has perfect facial balance, there are cases where your asymmetry may be more than just aesthetically complicated. When it comes to functionality, facial asymmetry can disrupt the way you speak and eat and even cause jaw or head pains.
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment, many problems become worse and require additional dental care later in life.
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 Westfall Orthodontics, our experienced team can provide specialized care for your unique needs to give you the smile you deserve.
How can Orthodontics help?
If you have asymmetry, you probably already know about it. Dr. Chad Westfall and his skilled team can correct facial asymmetry with advanced options. We can evaluate your facial features and oral health to create a treatment plan that fits your needs! Let’s look at a few ways we can help.
The most common and best-practiced solution to facial asymmetry in the past was jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery. Now, that procedure is reserved for extreme cases and patients who are not likely to see adequate results from orthodontic treatments like braces. We will also best solve some cases with replacement, such as through implants and dental bridges.
For cases that are considered typical or mild, such as under or overbite cases, Dr. Westfall can utilize traditional braces or 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. Modern technology has made metal braces much smaller and more of a comfortable process, which you can even personalize with colored elastic bands to make the process that much more fun. And for those 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 unique key daily to slowly and carefully expand the upper palate to create the desired symmetry.
In most cases, our skilled team can resolve facial asymmetry with non-invasive treatments, and by utilizing modern orthodontics, you can get the smile you deserve efficiently. It is a partnership between you and our orthodontic team, though. Your efforts in following Dr. Westfall’s instructions, and making it to your routine appointments while maintaining excellent oral hygiene will help you get your best results.
Westfall Orthodontics for an aesthetic AND functional smile
You only get one smile, and you can trust Dr. Westfall and our skilled team to give you the care you deserve. Our Westfall Orthodontics team is knowledgeable, friendly, and eager to guide you through your orthodontic process. We value the relationship we build with you and your family and want you to be confident that you receive the best orthodontic care possible.
Our dedication to our Richlands, Abingdon, and Bristol area patients shines through our exceptional and individualized care. We pride ourselves on staying up-to-date on the latest orthodontic treatments and technologies. Our office is conveniently located, making your orthodontic care close to home, school, and work. When you’re ready to start your orthodontic journey to facial symmetry, Dr. Westfall and his expert team are ready to help you. Schedule your FREE consultation today!