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Can braces change your face shape?

By Anthony July 12, 2018

Getting braces often goes hand in hand with some big life events, so it’s natural to carefully weigh up the big changes that they will bring. Everyone wants to know what they can expect from braces, especially in terms of the end result. After all, achieving your dream smile is a great reason to get excited!

We often get asked if braces can affect not only your teeth but also your whole face shape. So, can braces change your face shape? The short answer is YES they can! In this post we tackle how and when they are likely to. 

How can braces affect the shape of your face?

Your face can change because of the way your body reacts to braces. There are many types of braces available, including metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces and clear aligners (such as Invisalign) — and all work in a similar way: by applying pressure to the periodontal ligament.

Your periodontal ligament is “the fibrous connective tissue structure” that connects your tooth to the surrounding bone. As the wire, brackets and bands of your braces apply light and constant pressure, your body reacts by producing bone-growing and bone-destroying cells that begin to remodel the shape of the bone — and your face!

Your Orthodontist will carefully adjust the pressure applied to your teeth throughout your treatment, to optimise the end result and ensure any facial changes are beneficial. This customisation may involve adding additional bands, changing the wire in your braces, and other methods. Furthermore, they may use bands between your upper and lower jaw to correct an overbite or underbite. That’s why treatment duration varies between 12 and 18 months in most cases.

By applying this pressure to the periodontal ligament over a period of time, braces can influence the development of the jaw and even improve the symmetry of the face. This is one of the many considerable benefits of getting braces. These subtle changes to your jawline can even be included in the intended outcomes of your orthodontic treatment plan. Where a jaw or facial imbalance is more severe, your Orthodontist can work with other specialists to achieve more dramatic changes.

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Will braces change the shape of your face? It depends on your age. 

Getting braces is one trusted, effective and versatile option for those looking to improve their smile — whether you’re tackling an overbite, underbite, crowded smile or misaligned bite. There’s a treatment for every smile! However, the extent of change and degree which braces may affect the shape of your face will depend on your age and circumstances, therefore your trusted Orthodontist is always the best person to ask.

Children and teenagers

For growing children and adolescents, their bodies are still developing, meaning teeth, gums, jaw bones and muscles are more malleable to change. Braces can more heavily influence development at this stage. That’s why Orthodontic treatment is often recommended for teenagers.

Adult Braces Emma Watson-1

Image credit: Australian Society of Orthodontists

Adults 

However, the likelihood of movement for younger groups doesn’t exclude adults from achieving their ideal smile, and even an improvement in their facial symmetry.

In fact, “62% of Australian adults are considering orthodontic treatment”

Orthodontics Australia

You’ll achieve the best results with healthy teeth and gums. As you age, your teeth, gums and surrounding bone become harder and less malleable. Meanwhile, issues such as gum disease can hamper your body’s ability to produce bone-growing cells as your teeth move.

This means teeth are more likely to return to their original place, and furthermore, the process of bone-remodelling (contributing to the subtle changes in your face shape) is less effective. It's best to organise a consultation with your Orthodontist, who can assess your smile. 

Thinking about getting braces?

The smile of your dreams is within reach, and getting braces is the fastest and most effective way. It’s a big investment, so it’s crucial to weigh up all of your options and consider the benefits. 

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