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Braces

Facial changes with braces

10/16/2006

Question:

I went in to the ortho. to have one tooth that had started turning slightly addressed. He highly recommended that I have full braces put on to perfect my smile(a smile that was already very nice.) I have had braces on for 9 months and have experienced some very unattractive facial changes. My face apprears thinner and sallowed. I already had a thin face and really could not afford this effect. I have not lost weight so the appearance of thinning is not due to that.

I have a friend who recently had braces put on by a diff. ortho and she is experiencing the same effect and is also unhappy. I had 3 consults before I had the braces put on. Not one (prominent orthodontists in Chicago) had a discussion with me about potential facial changes. I would not have undergone this process to simply turn one tooth slightly if I knew there was a risk of my entire facial appearance changing. I have gone to see another ortho. recently and he had no options for correcting what has occurred.

Do you have any suggestions or recommendations? Since I have been rather vocal about this, I have found other adult patients who have had the same experience and who are also not happy. Thank you.

Answer:

First of all, I am sure your orthodontist took a lateral cephalogram in the beginning which he can trace as to the outline of your lips. If no teeth were extracted it is not likely that there would have been a reduction in the lip line.

Have him take a new lateral cephalogram and then he can superimpose the tracings to determine whether there has been a change in the lip line.

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Response by:

Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS
Professor Emeritus - Clinical, Associate of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University