How teeth affect face shape

A common question GRAHAME DUTTON of Duxton Dental gets asked is about the shape of children’s faces – and how teeth influence the jawline.

Generally, at primary school our kids have a convex profile with the forehead and chin sitting behind the nose or mid face. As they grow, their faces get straighter as the lower jaw comes forward.

However, the lower jaw may remain too far back. This creates what orthodontists call a ‘class II’ appearance, where it looks as though the chin has gone on holiday. This can be seen in the teeth as the lower teeth sitting further back than the upper teeth by more than a couple of millimetres. It can be seen in the soft tissues as a deep fold under the lower lip, and it can also show up as a difficulty in keeping the upper and lower lips together without muscle tension.

Treatment focuses on advancing the lower jaw and teeth. This is important as it not only restores the chin but also helps with lip seal and bite correction. It also decreases the risk of traumatic damage to the front teeth by allowing the lips to better shield the teeth.

Advancing the lower jaw can be achieved by using either twin block plates followed by braces, or now, Invisalign which can align the teeth and step the lower jaw forward. Our patients have found Invisalign to be much more comfortable to wear and because we can align the teeth at the same time treatment time can be reduced.

The ideal time for treatment is while the patient is still growing. For this reason, we like to take a look as early as 9-10 years old, so don’t wait – get an assessment now if you think that there could be any degree of missing chin.

Grahame Dutton and wife Christine Duxbury established Duxton Dental in 1996. Their team of dental surgeons have an avowed commitment to researching and implementing new technologies and techniques in order to provide optimal dental care that is minimally invasive and that will stand the test of time.

03 348 5488 / duxtondental.co.nz