Have you stumbled across the facial symmetry filter lately? You can find this filter on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat alike. It works by copying one side of an individual’s face over the other, giving the user the appearance of perfect facial symmetry – and a load of potential complexes, too! When so many others are filtering their faces and using captions like “this is what you could look like if your face were symmetrical,” it’s a bit difficult not to try it out and begin comparing yourself with the version presented on the camera.
The problem with this trend is that it doesn’t end when you exit the app. Instead, the increase in societal self-consciousness leads many to find more permanent solutions to their facial asymmetry. Therefore, it is no surprise that orthodontists’ offices hear our patients echo the same complaints and questions, even those who don’t claim to use social media. The facial symmetry trend is causing patients in the orthodontic world to turn to their doctors for an answer to one glaring question: Can orthodontics fix my facial asymmetry?
Facial asymmetry can spark self-consciousness in anyone, but the team at Bigman Orthodontics is here to help. We want you to feel comfortable in your skin without the filter. That’s why we are here to explain the orthodontics behind facial asymmetry so you can gain back the confidence behind your smile.
Facial Asymmetry: What is it?
Before we begin, it is essential to note that almost every individual experiences some degree of facial asymmetry. Despite what social media may tell you, no one is perfect! In addition, it is a common misconception that facial asymmetry is a bad thing. In fact, it is often considered to be an integral part of what makes you, you.
Facial asymmetry is the imbalance of an individual’s facial structures on either side of their face. While most cases of facial asymmetry are only slight and tend to go unnoticed, some more severe cases may cause further distress. That is because asymmetries can cause double chins, sunken cheeks, or a “weak chin,” which are all more noticeable conditions that may potentially spur anxiety and send many patients to the orthodontist for a permanent solution.
When it comes to the orthodontic side of facial asymmetry, the answer usually comes down to the type of bite you have, which leads us to…
Every case that our doctors see is unique. That is because 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 considerable 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 requires 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 most significant change in facial symmetry by implementing 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. People with this bite pattern may also see significant results with orthodontic treatment.
How can my orthodontist help with asymmetry?
Catching asymmetry at the youngest possible age is the best way to prevent it from growing out of control. Young people’s jawlines and face structures are still growing and changing, which means they adapt much more readily to orthodontic treatment. Even if you didn’t intervene during youth, we can still correct facial asymmetry in older patients using 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. The hope is that by aligning your teeth, the angles of your face and jaw are adjusted to produce a more symmetrical effect without physically changing any of your other facial features. Dr. Bigman offers the treatment options below to help you feel more attractive.
As the traditional option, metal braces are often the first method that comes 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 12-36 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 an almost invisible look. By wearing these trays for 22 hours per day for 9-15 months, you’ll see results in no time.
Bring Back the Confidence Behind Your Smile at Bigman Orthodontics
The world of social media can be tough to navigate. While Dr. Bigman and his team hope that the trials and tribulations of Snapchat and TikTok don’t get in the way of your natural smile, we want to make sure you feel comfortable in your own skin without the filter.
If you have concerns about facial asymmetry, you aren’t alone. Set up an appointment for your free consultation with Dr. Bigman today!