Pretty much everyone has some degree of facial asymmetry. Overall, a bit of asymmetry here and there is part of what makes everyone’s face unique, which is a great thing!
However, there are certain asymmetries (often caused by underlying tooth and jaw misalignments) which, far from making us who we are, can restrict our sense of being able to express ourselves adequately.
It’s just these sorts of asymmetries that your orthodontist trained to take care of! We asked Dr. Vo to sit down with us and asked her – can orthodontics fix facial asymmetry?
The answer is very often yes! Read on to learn more.
Bite Problems Lead to Facial Asymmetry
When we talk about orthodontics and facial asymmetry, it often comes down to an underlying problem in the patient’s bite. Let’s take a look at a few of the different causes and their solutions:
In the case of an overbite, the upper front teeth overlap or cover part of the lower front teeth. This can lead to excessive wear and tear of the teeth, particularly the incisors (the two front teeth). Another concern with an overbite is the possibility of damage to the gum tissue leading to excessive gingival display (that’s a gummy smile to the rest of us).
Overbites can contribute to facial asymmetry by causing the cheeks to appear sunken and the jaw profile to be less distinct.
Traditional or clear braces or even aligners such as Invisalign can correct the issues leading to an overbite.
Also known as an anterior crossbite, this is where the lower jaw sits out in front of the upper jaw. With an underbite, the lower jaw may jut out asymmetrically. When uncorrected, underbites can lead to excessive stress and pressure on the joints of the jaw and face. That means tension headaches, tooth grinding, and temporomandibular disorders, or TMJ.
Underbites typically require more aggressive treatment than would be the case for the more common mild overbites. In more severe cases of underbite, Dr. Vo may refer you to an oral or maxillofacial surgeon with whom she’ll work closely to reshape the jaw to develop a proper bite.
Refers to a misalignment of either the teeth, jaws or both, in which upper teeth sit inside lower teeth. This often becomes worse over time and can lead to issues with adequately chewing food. The sooner this is detected, the better. That’s why we recommend that even if you don’t notice any visible malocclusion in your child’s teeth, you take them in to see an orthodontic specialist like Dr. Vo by the time they’re seven years old, according to the ADA.
A crossbite can result in facial asymmetry by leading to misalignment of the jawbones and uneven engagement of the facial and jaw muscles. Not only can this result in facial asymmetry, but it can lead to additional complications such as TMJ and tension headaches!
Crossbites are generally comfortably handled by various orthodontic treatments, including traditional metal or ceramic braces, Invisalign, or similar methods.
These come in two flavors: anterior and posterior.
With an anterior open bite, the upper and lower teeth never meet or overlap when the back teeth are together, causing a visible gap in the space, leading to the name. A posterior open bite is similar, but the front and side teeth will close properly, but a gap forms in the back teeth.
With a more severe incidence of open bite, as is the case with all of the above-described issues leading to facial asymmetry, Dr. Vo may want to refer you to a surgeon who specializes in what’s known as orthognathic surgery. This means that the surgeon has gone to great lengths to understand the relationship between the teeth, jaws, and facial structures.
Dr. Vo will work closely with the surgeon to develop a plan that leads to your best orthodontic outcomes. This includes correcting any incidence of severe facial asymmetry.
Texas Family Orthodontics Can Help!
At Texas Family Orthodontics, we know that facial problems resulting from underlying orthodontic issues can lead to self-esteem issues, painful secondary effects such as TMJ and tension headaches, and an overall decreased quality of life. That’s why we’re here!
If you’re in or around San Antonio or Windcrest, visit us at one of our comfortable offices equipped with top-of-the-line orthodontic technology. Not only that, but we also like to think the office comes equipped with the friendliest, most knowledgeable staff in Texas!
There’s no need to let facial asymmetry put you off-balance. Call today for your free consultation!