Orthodontics and Facial Beauty, Part III: Tilted Teeth

In my last post, I showed that straight teeth don’t necessarily make for an attractive smile.  If the smile is too “gummy”, the smile is not as attractive as if the teeth are positioned properly between the lips.  If the smile is not attractive, it is natural for a person to “hide” their smile.  “Hiding” the smile can be done quite literally by hiding the smile with the hands, or can be done in subtle ways like turning the head or avoiding a broad smile altogether.  I think that sometimes, a cynical personality can develop from a lifetime of hiding a happy smile.

So have you ever considered what it would look like if the right side of the smile was not level with the left side of the smile?  We encounter the situation of a “tilted smile” every so often, and correction of this problem has a dramatic effect on the beauty of the smile.  This particular problem is technically called a “canted occlusal plane”, and oftentimes, the problems roots like with the manner in which a person’s jaws have grown.  Uneven growth of the lower jaw changes in the way that the upper jaw grows, leading to a tilted smile.

Here is a patient who exhibited a tilted smile.  You can see that although her front teeth are pretty straight, the edges of the front teeth are not level.  They tilt down on her left side.  The photo is cropped with her eyes and her ears level, and her head is held straight, so the problem is clearly with her teeth.

When we asked her to hold a stick between her teeth, the problem is readily apparent. 

Here you can see progress being made part of the way through her treatment.  We used Speed braces, and we used something called a temporary anchorage device (TAD) to help move the teeth on her left side upwards.  We will write more about the relatively new technology involved with TADs in a future post.  Combining this with the use of rubber bands on her right side to move those teeth downwards a bit is creating a level appearance to her teeth.

After the completion of her orthodontic treatment, you can see that we’ve completely corrected her tilted smile.

Just as verification, we had her hold the stick between her teeth again, and you can see that indeed her smile is no longer tilted down on the left.

Comparing her beginning smile to her ending smile shows the dramatic effect that having a level smile line can have on the beauty of the smile.