Can Missing Teeth Make My Face Uneven? The Causes of Facial Asymmetry

Posted on Monday, August 14th, 2023 | 1,832 views

Woman smilingDoes your face feel uneven or do you see a facial asymmetry? Here we cover how missing teeth can contribute to facial asymmetries, and which treatment options are available to restore the balance in both sides of your face.

What is Facial Asymmetry?

Facial asymmetry refers to the differences in the appearance of the two sides of the face. It is normal for people to occasionally notice facial asymmetry to some degree, but there are cases where it can be more pronounced and lead to serious aesthetic and functional concerns.

A common cause of facial asymmetry is missing teeth. In this article, we’ll cover the relationship between missing teeth and facial asymmetry, and you’ll learn the underlying factors that contribute to the condition and how to address it.

The Connection with Missing Teeth and Facial Symmetry

Missing teeth can generally contribute to facial asymmetry due to two factors:

  1. changes in bone structure
  2. alterations in muscle function

Let’s examine these factors in more detail.

Changes in Bone Structure

Your jawbone relies on the stimulation created by the teeth and how it maintains its density and strength. Once a tooth is lost or removed, the bone that supported it begins to deteriorate. This process is called bone resorption. Over time bone resorption leads to changes in the shape of the jawbone, it affects the facial structure, and has the potential to cause facial asymmetry too.

The extent of bone loss will depend on several factors including:

  • the number of missing teeth
  • the teeth location
  • the duration of time there’s been tooth loss.

Generally, the more teeth that are missing and the longer they have been absent, the greater the potential for facial asymmetry symptoms to occur.

Alterations in Muscle Function

Again, the teeth play the most important role in biting and chewing because it engages the facial muscles. When teeth are missing, the balance of muscle function can start to become disrupted and leads to over or under-use of certain muscles.

This imbalance results in changes to the facial muscle tone and facial structure, and generally leads to obvious facial unevenness.

Using Dentistry to Fix Facial Asymmetry Caused by Missing Teeth

If you’re at the point that you feel your missing teeth are causing your face to look uneven, you have several options available to you that don’t involve major surgery, and will produce positive results.

You will have to consult with your dentist to discuss your options and concerns and you both will explore potential solutions.

Some possible treatments include:

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a popular option for replacing missing teeth. They consist of a titanium post that is placed into the jawbone, which then supports a dental crown, bridge, or denture. By replacing the missing tooth root, dental implants help to prevent bone loss and provide a stable foundation for the replacement tooth.

If you already have dental implants, learn to keep them clean and healthy by following these simple implant maintenance tips.

Dentures and Bridges

Dentures and bridges are also great options to replace missing teeth. While they may not provide the same level of bone stimulation as implants do, they still restore the proper function and aesthetics of your teeth and help reduce the effects of some facial asymmetries that can be caused by tooth loss.

These types of oral restorations are also generally more affordable than other treatments and the procedures are much less invasive. This makes them suitable alternatives for individuals with budget considerations.

Advances in dental materials and techniques have significantly improved the appearance and comfort of dentures and bridges and are a good start to finding a solution to any facial asymmetries you may be noticing.

Orthodontic Treatments

In some cases, certain orthodontic treatments may be recommended to correct the misalignment of the remaining teeth. Orthodontics may involve the use of traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, self-ligating braces, or clear aligners (i.e., Invisalign)—depending on one’s specific needs, and the severity of their dental misalignment.

Certain orthodontic treatments also promote better oral health and reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and uneven wear on the teeth. They can alleviate strain on the jaw muscles and joints, reduce symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and improve overall facial balance. Your dentist will give you a full examine you and determine the best treatment plan moving forward.

The Long-Term Effects of Tooth Loss and Facial Asymmetry

When left untreated, missing teeth tend to lead to long-term consequences and these include facial asymmetry, bone loss, difficulty speaking or eating, headaches and other dental issues. The remaining teeth may also start shifting or become further misaligned, which just makes the problem worse.

According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine (NLM)

In addition to the drifting and supra-eruption […] is a possible facial/oral asymmetry or collapse, that may result following loss of teeth. [source]

Early intervention is crucial to correcting facial asymmetries and maintaining optimal oral health.

What Should You Do if You See Asymmetries in Your Face

If you are concerned that your face looks uneven because of tooth loss, do not wait to fix the problem. If you live in Brantford, Dr. Pio Modi DDS, will give you a complete oral examination and give you the proper advice on how the problem can be treated.

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