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Braces

Braces resulting in facial asymmetry

05/23/2007

Question:

I had braces on for 2 years and got them taken off 2.5 months ago. Halfway through treatment, my orthodontist had me put on a single rubberband on my right (I think lower 1st molar to upper canine to correct my midline). 3 months into doing that, I still had symmetry until he had me put on a pair of bands (2 frontal upside down triangles) and that`s when I started noticing the asymmtry. 2 months into that, I kind of panicked and told him not to put the bands on me anymore but didn`t tell him the reason why. The reason was because the asymmetry was getting worse. It`s minor asymmetry but it bothers me a lot. The right side of my face is slightly different from my left (jaws, cheekbone, eyes). It just seems as if my face slightly shifted to the left a bit more than it should`ve. My left eye is slightly higher than my right, my left cheekbone is slightly higher than my right and left jaw is a bit more foward than my right. I never had this problem till the rubberbands. I feel that the single band was on for too long and caused this. Now that I don`t have braces anymore, should I tell my orthodontist about this problem I`m having? Is this problem somewhat common? I don`t know how to go about this problem to my ortho. It just seems bizaar. I have a feeling that he`ll just shrug it off. It was a bit worse when I still had my braces but didn`t tell him because it seemed weird. Now I`m regretting it. What are my options in cases like these? Your help would be MUCH appreciated.

Answer:

Rubber bands are not capable of causing a facial asymmetry. It is likely that your orthodontist was trying to move your teeth to compensate (i.e., mask or make up for) for the skeletal problem. The most common solution for facial asymmetry is some type of surgery on the jaw bones. It sounds like you have a small asymmetry so I do not know if surgery is a good choice for you. I do not think there is anything that your orthodontist could have done to either cause the asymmetry or really fix it.

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Response by:

Mark G Hans, DDS, MSD Mark G Hans, DDS, MSD
Professor of Orthodontics
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University