Do braces change your facial profile?
I have been noticing that all my friends who have worn braces during different life stages (from teenage to mid-twenties) all end up with an obvious “v-shaped” chin afterwards, which results in a much slimmer and longer facial profile, even if some of them might still have chubby cheeks.
Why is this so? And is this effect a common result of braces treatment?
I have been thinking of getting braces to correct my mild cross-bite issue and would like to know the common effects of braces on a person’s facial profile.
You have asked a very interesting question and I am afraid the answer is yes and no! I will try to explain it as best I can.
Braces CAN change profiles: only when the orthodontists and the patient plan to get it changed from the START of the treatment. A good example is when patients complain that when taking photographs, they notice that their side profile is sticking out and they have a very full smile (most patients use the terms, I look like a horse!). In this case, braces can help to retract the teeth to allow the patient to have a softer, gentler profile.
Braces CANNOT change profile: Some patients worry that braces may damage their profile. If you have a nice profile and only want your teeth straightened, then the orthodontist will plan the treatment so that braces will not alter your profile. However, if treatment is not planned properly, especially in cases of teeth extractions, braces may actually cause your profile to flatten.
V-shape chin: Orthodontic treatment restricts movement of teeth within the jaw bone. It is unlikely that braces itself will ‘make’ the chin more V-shaped. However, it is more likely that the illusion of straighter teeth, more confident smile and better profile creates the slimmer illusion on the face. Patients tend to loose some weight during braces treatment so this may help with that too!
Crossbite: The mild crossbite you mentioned will depend on where the crossbite is. Is it at the front or back? Does it include one or multiple teeth? Does your chin slide to one side? Therefore assessment of the crossbite is crucial before answering your question on whether it will change your profile.
I hope this helps. Good luck!
Many of my patients have asked me that question too, so rest assured, you’re not the only one wondering about it.
In terms of creating a V-shaped face with a sharper chin, this is usually the illusion created as a result of moving the teeth inwards with orthodontic treatment.
Most of our Asian patients have protrusive teeth, where the teeth are flared outwards and push the lips forward, making them very prominent. Crooked teeth with outwardly placed upper canine teeth (aka vampire teeth) can also cause the upper lip to be raised and appear full. A full lip appearance tends to make the face look rounded, whereas after orthodontic treatment, the teeth are straightened and moved inwards to give a flatter and more pleasing lip profile, this in turn makes the face look slimmer. I do agree with Dr Sylvia, some patients lose weight along the way too! 🙂
Orthodontic treatment only moves the teeth and the limited amount of bone surrounding the teeth. We would give the plastic surgeons a run for their money if we could move the jaw and create more V-shaped faces, unfortunately, that is not something braces can do as those kind of procedures involves changing the shape and position of the jaw bones which only surgery can do.
With regards to your crossbite, the location and it’s relationship to the rest of your bite, as well as your jaw relationship will determine how much it can change your profile. It would be advisable to visit an orthodontist for a detailed assessment so that they can advise you better and more accurately.
All the best!