When people consider orthodontic treatment like braces, their focus is often specifically on their smile and more particularly their teeth, but did you know braces can also alter and improve your entire facial appearance?
Here’s an insight into how that works…
The mouth and the face
The mouth plays an important role in the symmetry and profile of your face. And it’s not just teeth which aren’t quite straight that impact this appearance. Bite alignment issues like overbite, underbite, and open bite can also affect the way you smile or how your mouth appears in profile and context with your face.
Often a little appreciated side effect of braces treatment is that your overall facial appearance improves at the same time as your bite or teeth are corrected. So, let’s delve a little deeper…
An open bite occurs when front teeth are unable to meet even when the jaws are closed.
It may cause the mouth to appear more stretched or in some cases mean it is unable to completely close naturally. When you see the face in profile, an open bite is even more likely to be noticeable as it often results in the upper lip protruding slightly.
Increased overbite refers to top teeth excessively overlapping the bottom teeth vertically. Appearance wise, it can cause the top lip to jut out, and the cheeks to appear sunken.
The good news is, increased over bite is one of the most common bite issues that orthodontists treat, and in addition to improving the look and dental health of the teeth, it also helps restore symmetry to the face.
Increased overjet refers to excessive protrusion of the top teeth beyond the bottom teeth horizontally. Commonly known as “buck teeth”, it changes the profile of the face to also see the top lip protrude.
Under bite refers to a scenario where the bottom teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth. It can make the chin look excessively pronounced. Braces help to soften this appearance by shifting the teeth back into a more natural position.
The big picture
When an orthodontist assesses the position of teeth, they’re not just looking to ascertain whether they are straight or misaligned, or whether the bite needs correcting. They are also looking at the jaw and mouth within the context of facial appearance, as Orthodontics Australia explains:
“Orthodontists don’t just focus on making teeth straight and fixing bad bites – they also manage and enhance a person’s entire facial appearance and profile. Orthodontists ensure patients are left with their most attractive smile and facial profile possible after treatment, taking into account the growth and ageing changes that occur over a person’s lifetime.”
Importantly they have undergone highly specialised training to make this assessment.
In addition to five years of studying general dentistry and two years clinical experience working as a dentist, an orthodontist undertakes a further three years study to specialise in this field. Part of this study involves specialty areas including facial growth and development.
Meanwhile, a board-certified specialist orthodontist, like Norwest’s Dr Shimanto Purkayastha, has undergone the above training plus had their treatment results assessed by an independent and anonymous specialist panel to certify their standard of care.
Ultimately, this attention to teeth position, jaw alignment and facial development allows an orthodontist to accurately understand what the face will do in the years to come, and how teeth straightening and bite correction can work to enhance facial appearance.
How might my face look different?
Orthodontics Australia notes often improvements to facial appearance are simply a side effect of having teeth straightened and the jaw aligned, but in some cases changes the facial profile and appearance a targeted element of treatment.
The results might include:
Straight teeth and an aligned smile can often make your face look more symmetrical, by balancing the focal point of the features.
The profile of the face is often an area where patients notice the most benefit in their facial appearance. That’s because correcting issues like underbite, overjet and overbite helps bring the jaw and upper lip into better alignment.
Ultimately this can redefine the jawline and soften the features.
A surprise benefit for adult patients is that orthodontic treatment can make them appear younger.
“In some cases, correcting the jaw alignment can make the skin under the chin appear tighter, giving you a more youthful appearance,” Orthodontics Australia explains.
When Australian newsreader Leila McKinnon had braces a couple of years ago, she also noted an anti-ageing effect was an unexpected benefit, telling Nine Honey:
“People have been asking my mum whether I’ve had work done. And well, I guess I have. I’ve had all my teeth moved, and in the process widened my smile, lifted my extra chin/neck gobble part (I think that’s what biologists call it), and tightened my ever-loosening jawline.
“The most unexpected benefit has been the anti-ageing effect. But I’ve since looked into it and increasingly people are having late life orthodontics to look younger.”
We’ve talked a lot in this article about improved facial appearance and profile, but it’s also important to note the simple act of straightening teeth specifically makes the smile more attractive and offers improved confidence.
The Australian Society of Orthodontics has previously noted the smile is the first thing a third of people notice in others, and 60 per cent of Australians believe that a good smile gives you confidence.
And as we all know, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you…
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.
We also have a suite of treatments available that include discreet, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.