Whenever one talks about braces, the basic misconception that the people hold is that braces only straighten teeth and does nothing for the facial profile. An outline of an individual’s face is known as the “facial profile”.Since centuries, beauty has been defined and measured by parameters, by painters, sculptors, and artists. Whether it be Aphrodite of Greece or Nefertiti of Egypt, the epitome of facial esthetics have always been governed by certain parameters.
In today’s world, it’s a known fact that orthodontists don’t just straighten crooked teeth and correct malaligned bite but also helps in the enhancement of the facial appearance and profile. Its the responsibility of the orthodontist to provide the best possible facial aesthetics and smile to their patients, with meticulous planning and foresightedness to the aging changes that occur in one’s lifetime. Hence, we are the modern-day Michelangelo or the Picasso for each of our patients.
The facial structures consist of the hard tissue structures like bone and teeth (known as the skeletal capsule) and soft tissue structures like muscles, nerves and blood vessels (called as the neuromuscular capsule) which are dependent on each other. Any changes in the hard tissue capsule cause subsequent changes in the soft tissue capsule and vice versa. It is on these principles that orthodontic treatment is planned. With the help of braces, we move the teeth (hard tissue) to bring about appropriate changes in the patient’s facial profile(soft tissue) and hence provide them with the best possible esthetics and smile. There are three types of facial profile:
Convex profile: The lower jaw(chin) is smaller than the upper jaw or vice versa.
Concave Profile : The lower jaw (chin) is larger than the upper jaw or vice versa.
Straight profile: The most attractive of all profiles, wherein both the upper jaw and lower jaw are in balance to each other.
Orthodontists manage the developing teeth and faces of growing kids as well as adults who have long since stopped growing. The treatment approach for each of the age groups is different and is dependent on the growth potential of the patient (both excess or lack of it).
Age group 7-10 years:
In this age group, the child should have a slightly convex profile as the growth of the lower jaw is not yet complete (completes at 14 years ) whereas the upper jaw growth is almost complete. Special attention should be given to developing crossbites which might impede the growth of the upper jaw and also oral habits like thumb sucking as it can drastically change the shape of the jaw. Also, check for the difficulty in breathing, snoring and mouth breathing as they can have detrimental effects on the growth of the face. These situations require special and early orthodontic intervention. Also, a regular visit to the kid’s dentist ensures healthy teeth for the rest of their life. your kid’s dental care is equally important.
Teenagers Kids in this age group have most of their permanent teeth erupted and a rapid growth pattern and hence are ideal candidates for braces and facial profile changes. These braces can be used for correction of crooked teeth, gaps between teeth or protruding teeth. As the teeth move with braces the soft tissue also follows the teeth and hence the entire profile and smile are changed and made pleasing. In case a kid has an extremely convex or concave profile, multifunctional therapy can be planned to bring about skeletal changes followed by braces.
Adults Are also good candidates for braces, but due to social factors, they prefer to go for invisible braces. In cases of severe facial imbalances, the orthodontist might work with other specialties (oral surgery) to provide the patient with the ideal profile. An orthodontist always suggests you treatment options whether extractions or surgery keeping in mind the enhancement of patient profile.