Braces Off - The Good and the Bad

If you have finished with your orthodontic treatment and are wearing retainers (or will be soon), this is a special place to connect with others in your (enviable) situation. Ask a question or make a comment about life post-braces.

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candygrrrl
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:16 am

Braces Off - The Good and the Bad

#1 Post by candygrrrl »

Hi all,

I have posted on and off a few times over the years and thought I would post an update now that my braces are off.

My journey began nearly three years ago, at age 41, with palatal expansion and then braces to correct a Class II malocclusion, cross bite, deep bite, and excessive crowding. I was de-banded a month ago. My teeth are straight, and my bite, thanks to final tweakings with upper and lower retainers, is coming together nicely.

However, I am not happy with the changes to my facial shape. Prior to braces, my face was round and symmetrical, which gave it a healthy, youthful appearance. Now, in addition to straight teeth and a "correct" bite, I also have a longer, much more gaunt face, thanks to protruding cheekbones, hollows under my eyes, and sunken in temples, the results of the expansion and the braces moving my underlying bone structure.

Had I known this would be the result (and my orthodontist never discussed the possibility of minor changes, much less such drastic ones, with me), I would have left my teeth alone. I'm wondering if there isn't a segment of the orthodontics industry that, in its zeal to correct bites and straighten teeth, totally ignore the effect such a process could have on one's overall facial aesthetics. I know some faces improve. Others, including mine, do not. Of course I know the aging process is inevitable, and I'm fine with that. I just had hoped to age with the face I've had for 40 years, not this strange one whose gauntness can only get worse as the years pass.

But, what's done is done. Buyer beware, right?

Still, I wonder: how many of you have also experienced changes to your face that you are unhappy with? And, how many of you have done or intend to do something about it, via plastic surgery or other medical options for correction?

I'd be thankful for your input.

AlexJones
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:51 am

#2 Post by AlexJones »

I find I look much better, but can you post a before and after pic of yourself?

ohmyjaw
Posts: 657
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:09 pm

#3 Post by ohmyjaw »

I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy with your final results. Also, I agree with AlexJones - a picture would be helpful, if you feel comfortable posting one.

I have to say I am not convinced that braces could cause all the things you mention. I had braces and jaw surgery (including palate expansion) and it did not affect my temples or under my eyes. It may have had a very slight impact on my cheekbones. Although, that may be an issue of proportions - the surgery made my chin less prominent, so perhaps my cheek bones now appear to be more prominent as a result.

Have you spoken with your orthodontist or surgeon about your concerns?

ohmyjaw
Posts: 657
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:09 pm

#4 Post by ohmyjaw »

I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy with your final results. Also, I agree with AlexJones - a picture would be helpful, if you feel comfortable posting one.

I have to say I am not convinced that braces could cause all the things you mention. I had braces and jaw surgery (including palate expansion) and it did not affect my temples or under my eyes. It may have had a very slight impact on my cheekbones. Although, that may be an issue of proportions - the surgery made my chin less prominent, so perhaps my cheek bones now appear to be more prominent as a result.

Have you spoken with your orthodontist or surgeon about your concerns?

Missingorigin
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 4:07 pm

#5 Post by Missingorigin »

I Also See A Difference In My Profile And Face Shape, But I'm Glad It Made It Look Better.
Sorry To Hear What Happned To You.

AMiles
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:17 am

#6 Post by AMiles »

My changes weren't as dramatic. I only had an underbite and now my chin doesn't stick out as much. There might of been other changes but it is hard to tell since I've had my braces on since I was around 13/14 and now I'm 16 about to get them off. My face might of been different if I didn't get braces, but I will never know.

unabraces
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:07 am

#7 Post by unabraces »

I still have my braces on but I have experienced the sunken in cheek look! I hate it. It makes me look gaunt, starved and much older. =(

Did you have teeth that might have contributed to your fuller face and now that they're in line, the face is thinner looking?

kittenmaisey
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:39 am
Location: uk

#8 Post by kittenmaisey »

Sorry to hear you are unhappy with appearence.. after all that work. Did you have extractions?
I know in some cases it can make adifference to face shape.

Brattie67
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:48 pm

Re: Braces Off - The Good and the Bad

#9 Post by Brattie67 »

Is anyone that posted on this chain still on line? I would like to know if your face went back back to normal over time. I'm having the same sunken in temples, gaunt look and I hate it. I'm 18 months into my treatment and have another 15 months to go and am worried that my face will continue to get worse.

Around three months after getting an appliance (a bit plate of sorts) my temples became hollow and I started to look gaunt. The appliance moved my top teeth back which helped to allign my top teeth with bottom teeth. I didn't get my upper braces on until a year later (6months ago) and will be getting my lower braces on tomorrow, therefore I know it has everything to do with the movement of my upper teeth. I'm hoping/praying that as my bottom teeth broaden to match with my now, broader top teeth, that it balances out my face and my temples regain some fullness. It's probably wishful thinking but it's all I have to hang onto for now. I would be so grateful to hear from anyone that has experienced the same facial changes to find out if the changes are permanent or temporary.

I decided to get braces to correct my deep bite.. My teeth weren't horribly crooked but they were by far not perfect either. I wish I had known this before I started treatment because I would rather have imperfect teeth than sunken in temples... I feel that it made me look much older.

kribbo
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:41 pm
Location: England

Re: Braces Off - The Good and the Bad

#10 Post by kribbo »

Brattie67 wrote:Is anyone that posted on this chain still on line? I would like to know if your face went back back to normal over time. I'm having the same sunken in temples, gaunt look and I hate it. I'm 18 months into my treatment and have another 15 months to go and am worried that my face will continue to get worse.

Around three months after getting an appliance (a bit plate of sorts) my temples became hollow and I started to look gaunt. The appliance moved my top teeth back which helped to allign my top teeth with bottom teeth. I didn't get my upper braces on until a year later (6months ago) and will be getting my lower braces on tomorrow, therefore I know it has everything to do with the movement of my upper teeth. I'm hoping/praying that as my bottom teeth broaden to match with my now, broader top teeth, that it balances out my face and my temples regain some fullness. It's probably wishful thinking but it's all I have to hang onto for now. I would be so grateful to hear from anyone that has experienced the same facial changes to find out if the changes are permanent or temporary.

I decided to get braces to correct my deep bite.. My teeth weren't horribly crooked but they were by far not perfect either. I wish I had known this before I started treatment because I would rather have imperfect teeth than sunken in temples... I feel that it made me look much older.
I'm in exactly the same boat here Brattie 67. I've had braces for 8 months and have lost a lot of lower cheek fat/volume. I'm 31 and previously had a full and round face - I was often mistaken for being 5-10 years younger. I now have prominent cheekbones with a sunken area underneath, jowls, nose-to-mouth lines and under-eye hollows. It appears that the fat in my lower cheeks has migrated down and bunched up around my mouth and drooped past my jawline.

I know ageing is due to kick in at my age, but for it to have happened so suddenly has been quite distressing. I can't think what else would've sped it up other than the braces. I now look older and too skinny - and I haven't lost any weight. People have commented on it and it gets me down to think that I may have permanently ruined my face for the sake of a few crooked teeth that nobody had ever noticed but me. The price of vanity I suppose.

There are lots of accounts both on and off of this site from people who have experienced the same thing. Orthodontists need to start acknowledging this and explaining to patients that it is a possibility. Like Brattie67, I would never have started treatment if I had known this could happen.

There are no straight answers on here about whether or not people's faces go back to normal after the braces are taken off, so I guess we'll all just have to wait and see... :(

Brattie67
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:48 pm

Re: Braces Off - The Good and the Bad

#11 Post by Brattie67 »

Hi kribbo,
Sorry to hear that you are experiencing the same thing as I am. It's really sucks not knowing what will happen once the braces come off. I talked to another girl on a different website and her face changed drastically from the braces... Same as ours. She was nice enough to send me photos of herself after she got her braces off and her face seemed to be going back to normal. She had posted pictures of herself with the facial changes. Unfortunately not enough people that experience the same facial changes post pictures after they get their braces off, to know if the changes are temporary or permanent. :(

Did your orthodontist move your top teeth back and/or broadened your bite? I'm curious to know what changes were made to your teeth that caused your face to change. All this time I've been thinking that it was because my Ortho moved my top teeth back, I never really considered that it could have been caused when she broadened my bite, which was done at the same time. I would really like to figure out exactly what caused the facial changes in hopes of undoing the damage that it caused to begin with.

My apologies that I didn't respond earlier, I haven't been on here for awhile.

Brattie67
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:48 pm

Re: Braces Off - The Good and the Bad

#12 Post by Brattie67 »

Hi kribbo,
Sorry to hear that you are experiencing the same thing as I am. It's really sucks not knowing what will happen once the braces come off. I talked to another girl on a different website and her face changed drastically from the braces... Same as ours. She was nice enough to send me photos of herself after she got her braces off and her face seemed to be going back to normal. She had posted pictures of herself with the facial changes. Unfortunately not enough people that experience the same facial changes post pictures after they get their braces off, to know if the changes are temporary or permanent. :(

Did your orthodontist move your top teeth back and/or broadened your bite? I'm curious to know what changes were made to your teeth that caused your face to change. All this time I've been thinking that it was because my Ortho moved my top teeth back, I never really considered that it could have been caused when she broadened my bite, which was done at the same time. I would really like to figure out exactly what caused the facial changes in hopes of undoing the damage that it caused to begin with.

My apologies that I didn't respond earlier, I haven't been on here for awhile.

kribbo
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:41 pm
Location: England

Re: Braces Off - The Good and the Bad

#13 Post by kribbo »

Brattie67 wrote:Hi kribbo,
Sorry to hear that you are experiencing the same thing as I am. It's really sucks not knowing what will happen once the braces come off. I talked to another girl on a different website and her face changed drastically from the braces... Same as ours. She was nice enough to send me photos of herself after she got her braces off and her face seemed to be going back to normal. She had posted pictures of herself with the facial changes. Unfortunately not enough people that experience the same facial changes post pictures after they get their braces off, to know if the changes are temporary or permanent. :(

Did your orthodontist move your top teeth back and/or broadened your bite? I'm curious to know what changes were made to your teeth that caused your face to change. All this time I've been thinking that it was because my Ortho moved my top teeth back, I never really considered that it could have been caused when she broadened my bite, which was done at the same time. I would really like to figure out exactly what caused the facial changes in hopes of undoing the damage that it caused to begin with.

My apologies that I didn't respond earlier, I haven't been on here for awhile.
Hi Brattie 67, you actually replied on the same day that I posted so there was no delay! Sorry it's taken me a few days, sometimes I go for weeks without checking the board.

I've actually got the controversial "Six Month Smiles" braces as my issues were purely cosmetic and I didn't have any bite issues (as far as I know). That's a whole other issue as I'm now thinking I should've had full orthodontic treatment - it's possible I'll end up with uncorrected bite problems as a result of such short-term treatment. I had a lot of crowding, especially on my lowers, and had Interproximal reduction (IPR) to make space rather than extractions - the enamel on some of my teeth was filed down (again, will possibly regret this choice in the future).

I was estimated to be in braces for 9 months. It will be that in 2 weeks' time, but my teeth, especially my lower arch, are certainly not straight yet so maybe it will be closer to a year. The 6MS element is worrying - I just hope they don't have to be taken off before I'm happy with them. My dentist (he's not an orthodontist - more regretful alarm bells) is being quite vague about the end point.

My front teeth have been flared forwards rather than backward, and I'm not completely sure but it appears that my arches have been narrowed. My dentist has not explained the mechanics of what he's doing so I can't say for sure, but that's what it looks like when I compare the photos he took of my teeth to how they seem now. I'm going to quiz him about all this when I next see him on Monday.

I mentioned the facial changes to him and he said changes could only happen with longer term wear, and that even then it was unlikely. But a lot of the posts I've seen about facial thinning have mentioned changes after only a few months, so I think he's just trying to pretend nothing's happened and that it's not down to the braces. Others have noticed the change though so I'm sure it's not just in my head. Seems to be a common theme, orthos/dentists deny the changes or deny that they could've caused them. He gets quite defensive about anything negative that I mention and acts as if I'm making it all up :-+

I'm probably way off here, but to me it feels like some of the changes have come about because of the way my mouth sits around the brackets. I noticed from day 1 that when I smiled (close-mouthed as is most common for me) my mouth pouched out at the sides and caused deep lines. It felt like different muscles were being used to negotiate the new space/mouth shape. I would imagine that as you age, the skin doesn't spring back as much, and if it's stretched and forced into new positions repeatedly over time then it will cause a change in underlying skin layers and then possibly fat distribution and muscle strength? As I said, perhaps this is all completely wrong, I'm really not sure. I've also read somewhere that as we chew differently with braces and eat softer food, this can cause the chewing muscles (masseter) to atrophy/weaken, causing a loss of volume at the sides of the face.

I found this link a while ago searching for braces/hollowing/cheek fat issues - this dermatologist mentions facial changes from braces and does not attribute this to extractions either. She says it as if it is now common knowledge, so I have to wonder why most people aren't warned it could happen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNclgJDf7r0 (I do realise she is doing fillers here and would be trying to exaggerate problems - I see nothing wrong with that girl's face!).

When are your braces due off Brattie? We'll have to keep each other posted on our post-brace face progress!
Last edited by kribbo on Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kribbo
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:41 pm
Location: England

Re: Braces Off - The Good and the Bad

#14 Post by kribbo »

kribbo wrote: I found this link a while ago searching for braces/hollowing/cheek fat issues - this dermatologist mentions facial changes from braces and does not attribute this to extractions either. She says it as if it is now common knowledge, so I have to wonder why most people aren't warned it could happen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNclgJDf7r0 (I do realise she is doing fillers here and would be trying to exaggerate problems - I see nothing wrong with that girl's face!).
I've just noticed that at one point she points to the girl's cheek and says it's her chin. Maybe she's not to be trusted?! :shock: :lol:

I also see no difference after the filler...hmm.

Brattie67
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:48 pm

Re: Braces Off - The Good and the Bad

#15 Post by Brattie67 »

Hi Kribbo, I watch the YouTube video that you posted and I agree, there was nothing wrong with that girls face. I'd prefer not to put foreign materials in my face when it hasn't been around long enough to know if there will be some long term side effects later..

I find it so annoying that of all the people that have been complaining about the same thing over the years, don't bother to come back and post updates once their braces came off. I really wish there were studies that offer information as to whether or not changes are permanent.. Have you found many people that posted about their "after" experience?

Btw, I really need to break out my computer so that I can give a full description of what my treatment has been so far. Also, do you know how to post pictures? This website isn't the most user friendly and I'm definitely computer literate. lol

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