Low self-esteem can affect anyone, particularly children and teens, and a potential cause could be facial asymmetry. Multiple studies point to facial symmetry as a key factor in perceived attractiveness. Asymmetry can be caused by many different things and it’s important to find out the root cause. This is where orthodontic treatment comes in. Facial asymmetry can often be corrected with orthodontic procedures and a consultation with an orthodontist will shed light on the severity of the situation.
Cause of Uneven Facial Features
While sometimes genetics are to blame, there are simple activities that a child may engage in that can affect the growth of their teeth and the bone structure of their jaw. These activities can have a major negative impact on facial symmetry and often parents will not notice as changes can be small and gradual. The follow are a few examples of activities that can cause asymmetry:
- Thumb Sucking- When babies, toddlers, or older children sucks their thumb, unnecessary pressure it applied to the teeth. This can also happen with other fingers, forcing the teeth to move over time. Depending on how the child holds their fingers in their mouth, teeth on the upper and lower jaws can be affected. Thumb or finger sucking is one of the more common factors attributing to facial asymmetry seen as children age.
- Putting Objects in Mouth- Babies and toddlers love using their mouths to explore their world. They will often put anything that will fit inside their mouths and often toys are built to withstand this secondary use. Children who chew excessively on toys or other objects may see the growth of their mouth altered.
- Teeth Grinding- Grinding of one’s teeth can cause a few issues. Not only can this cause wear on teeth, but cracks can potentially form, further destroying those teeth. An overbite or underbite can become worse as a mouth shifts overtime.
- Forceful Removal of Teeth- As a child loses their baby teeth, multiple changes happen inside their mouths. Roots are dissolved on primary teeth right before they are lost. If a child attempts to force a tooth out prematurely, they can cause damage to permanent teeth and teeth can shift, potentially causing asymmetry.
Getting a Professional Opinion
These are only a few examples of how oral structure can be altered to contribute to asymmetry. Genetic reasons for asymmetry can often be more severe and require longer or more extensive treatment. An orthodontist will be able to assess each individual’s situation and suggest the best course of treatment. The treatment may involve creating space, moving one or both the upper and lower jaw, and moving teeth vertically, horizontally, or even turning them. An orthodontist may recommend braces, clear aligners, or appliances that employ the use of springs, bands, spaces, or separators. Treatment may be prolonged when orthodontic appointments are missed and fine tuning in final stages of treatment will create a more polished profile. The best course of action if you are concerned about you or your child’s facial asymmetry is to see a licensed orthodontist who can provide you an individualized plan and oversee every step of the treatment to create a beautiful and symmetrical smile!