Invisalign is a very popular treatment for straightening teeth. Straight teeth are important to having a healthy smile, and they certainly look attractive.
Before you straighten your teeth with Invisalign or try any other kind of braces, however, you want to know if the treatment will affect more than just your teeth.
Indeed, as the occasional Invisalign review will mention, orthodontic treatment can change the way your face looks.
And depending on how you feel about your profile, that could be a good or bad thing.
So it’s natural to wonder:
How will Invisalign affect your face shape?
Can braces improve the way your face looks?
Could orthodontic treatment change your face for the worse?
Read on to get the answers.
What Do Braces Do to Your Jaw?
When you think about orthodontic treatment, you mostly think about getting straight teeth.
But your teeth are connected to the rest of your head. The position and height of your teeth can impact the way the rest of your face is shaped. This means that getting braces to change your teeth’ alignment can potentially affect the way your jaw looks.
However, it’s important to remember that your jaw is one bone of fixed length. You can’t make it longer or shorter with braces. For dramatic changes to your jaw, you will have to have orthognathic (jaw) surgery.
If you have an unusually large jaw that gives the lower half of your face a “bulldog” appearance, then you may need surgery to reduce your jaw. If you have a severely underdeveloped jaw, then an oral surgeon may need to build it up to help it meet the upper half of your face.
In either case, braces, Invisalign, or other orthodontic treatment alone won’t be enough.
How Can Braces Change Your Face?
Braces may not drastically alter your jaw, but they can impact your face in other ways.
As mentioned earlier, this is because your teeth’ position affects the way your muscles, bone, and skin grow around them.
Here are some examples:
As you can see, missing or misaligned teeth can significantly impact the way your face looks.
Correcting such problems with dentistry, tooth replacement, or braces can help your smile look much better even without having surgery.
Age is a crucial factor. Regular orthodontic treatment in adults can straighten out some crooked teeth without affecting the mouth’s bone too much. But kids’ mouths and skulls are still developing, so they are more sensitive to structural changes.
Early orthodontics changes the position of kids’ teeth, and this can set a whole new foundation for the way kids’ faces develop around the teeth.
And it’s not just braces that do this. Habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrusting and possibly even the way children swallow and breathe can affect the pressures that their mouths experience over the years.
There are many factors that orthodontic specialists are still trying to understand, but evidence suggests that many different things may influence our facial features in childhood.
This is why braces are often the most effective and offer the most dramatic changes during the childhood years.
Guiding teeth into their optimal positions as a child grows provides the foundation or framework for a more symmetrical and balanced face.
Do Braces Change Your Face?
So what about adults? There are many different types of braces. Can any of these change your face if your childhood years are behind you?
The changes won’t be as dramatic for you as they usually are for kids, but there are some changes you can expect.
Do Braces Change Your Smile?
By straightening out your teeth, braces absolutely do change your smile! The most important and noticeable result of braces is that you will have nice and tidy teeth, which will give you a more balanced and attractive smile. While braces won’t change your jaw too much, changing the position of your teeth can alter the visual impact of your smile and make it seem wider or narrow, shorter or taller than before.
Does Braces Change Your Face Shape?
Again, braces are more likely to impact the face shape of developing kids rather than adults. Braces simply move teeth through bone, and the bone settles around the teeth in their new positions. Some people worry about just how much braces can change the shape of their child’s face. There have, indeed, been some situations where a child had a normal-looking bite before braces only to end up with a very weak chin later in life.
To avoid this kind of outcome, talk with your child’s orthodontist to learn about their approach to treatment. Ask to see before-and-after photos of cases they have completed that were similar to your child’s.
A good orthodontist will use techniques that take your child’s jaw and facial structure into consideration. As long as you understand what the orthodontist is trying to achieve, there is nothing to worry about.
It’s also important to remember that kids may get braces right at the time they go through puberty. So it’s hard to tell exactly how much of their facial structure was affected by braces, and how much results from other natural growth factors.
Does Correcting Overbite Change Your Face Shape?
Overbite is a malocclusion (bite problem) in which the upper front teeth close down too far over the lower front teeth. Sometimes, the upper teeth may jut out horizontally away from the jaw, and this too can be called an overbite.
Having this kind of bite problem can make your chin look underdeveloped. An orthodontist can evaluate your bite to determine whether or not braces will be enough for you.
If your overbite is actually the result of an underdeveloped jaw, then you may need surgery first to bring your jaw more in line with your upper front teeth.
But if you simply have a couple front teeth that stick out too far, then some braces can bring them back in proper alignment.
In either situation, correcting an overbite will help your profile look stronger.
Your Face Before and After Braces
The best way to find out how braces change your face profile is to take before-and-after pictures of your smile. Your orthodontist will definitely take some, but you can track your own progress at home by taking your own photos.
If you choose to straighten teeth at home, you may have a harder time seeing how braces affect your profile. Many online clear aligner companies only treat and track tooth alignment, not facial structure.
Benefits of Braces Change
Sometimes, change is a good thing!
Given what braces cost, you want to get the most out of your treatment that you can.
And it’s definitely a perk to see the many ways braces can improve your appearance and your life.
Improve Jaw Alignment
So correcting tooth alignment with Invisalign or traditional braces could help you get relief from TMJ problems.
Improve Your Bite
Improve Your Oral Health
Make Your Face Shape More Symmetrical
Uneven teeth could cause you to chew more on one side of your mouth than the other, and this could lead to your entire face looking uneven. So straightening out your teeth for an even bite can help your face to look more balanced and beautiful.
Braces and Your Face: In Summary
The best way to find out how braces can affect your face is to visit a skilled orthodontist. Many orthodontic specialists take a comprehensive approach and can plan your treatment while factoring in your facial structure.
While there are ways to straighten teeth without braces, seeing an orthodontist for treatment is likely going to have the biggest positive impact on how your face looks.
Seeing a specialist is even more important in delicate situations such as getting braces while pregnant.
Braces most certainly can change the way your face looks, but the impact is more dramatic in kids. Even the best teeth aligners won’t affect the shape or alignment of your jaw. If you want to make big changes to your facial profile, you may need to discuss surgery with your orthodontist or an orofacial surgeon.