As an experienced and board-certified orthodontic clinic, our team at Brodsky Orthodontics has seen a lot of smiles. We value the uniqueness of each and every smile we serve, which is why the alarming rate of patients coming in with questions about facial symmetry insecurities is concerning. With the rise of social media over the past decade, the face-tuning filters that nearly every young person applies to their selfies seem to be a main source of anxiety, especially for our youth. TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram all use these filters, and one, in particular, is causing quite the stir: the facial symmetry filter.
This filter uses a copy of one side of your face and applies it over the other side, giving the user the appearance of perfect facial symmetry. The effect? Users draw an immediate comparison between the filtered image and what they look like when the camera is off. Face alterations like this are leading to a number of new patients looking for a permanent solution, asking us: can orthodontics fix my facial asymmetry?
It is the question on everyone’s mind, and because Brodsky Orthodontics wants you to feel confident in your own smile, we are here to explain the orthodontics behind facial asymmetry so that you can regain your self-confidence with #NoFilter.
So what exactly is facial asymmetry?
Most people’s internal struggle with facial asymmetry is due to aesthetics. It has often been said that humans subconsciously prefer individuals with more symmetrical faces, and that knowledge could send anyone into an anxiety-ridden frenzy! In fact, asymmetries may cause what is known as a “weak chin,” double chin, or sunken cheeks, among other effects. But what is it, and what causes it?
Facial asymmetry stems from the imbalance in the arrangement of an individual’s facial features. Nearly everyone has some degree of facial asymmetry. It is part of being human to have some slight asymmetry which could be caused by genetics, facial growth as a part of the aging process, or the way your jaw is structured. Usually, this slight asymmetry goes unnoticed or is even considered to be an integral part of what makes you you, but in some more severe cases of asymmetry, anxieties and insecurities may arise.
However, in addition to the aesthetic value of a symmetrical face, there are also health concerns when it comes to asymmetry. Asymmetry could indicate deeper problems such as sleep apnea or TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder.
When it comes to the orthodontic side of facial asymmetry, we typically chalk it up to the type of bite you have…
Everyone’s mouth is different, and everyone has some type of bite that falls into one of several categories. Each bite pattern is telling of your jaw structure, and jaw structure plays a huge role in facial symmetry. The first step your orthodontist will take toward addressing your facial asymmetry concerns is determining your bite pattern.
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 my orthodontist help with asymmetry?
Asymmetry is best addressed when caught at a young age. This is because your jawline is still growing and changing which means it is much more readily influenced by orthodontic treatment. Even still, facial asymmetry can still be corrected in older patients as well with the use of braces and, in more severe cases, corrective jaw surgery.
Typically, however, depending on the unique characteristics of your teeth, your orthodontist will use one of several treatment methods to attempt to bring your bite pattern to a more neutral position in a process called intercuspation. The goal of intercuspation is to align your teeth, and the hope is that by aligning your teeth, the angles of your face and jaw are adjusted to produce a more symmetrical effect without actually physically changing any of your other facial features. Brodsky Orthodontics offers the treatment options below to help you feel more attractive.
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 18-30 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 9-18 months, you’ll see results in no time.
Find Confidence in Your Natural Smile with Brodsky Orthodontics
Dr. Joel Brodsky, Dr. Charles Brodsky, and Dr. Jeffrey Brumbaugh form a team that handles your orthodontic concerns with experience and positivity. Although we are all susceptible to the effects of social media on occasion, let the Brodsky team help you feel confident in your smile without the filter. Feeling insecure about facial asymmetry? Schedule a free consultation with our doctors today!