What is an Asymmetrical Smile?

In this blog we will discuss what an asymmetrical smile is.

An asymmetric smile refers to when one side of your smile does not mirror the other side of your smile. 

Let us briefly touch upon its prevalence, impact on people’s lives, it’s causes, and possible treatments available for this condition. 

What is an Asymmetrical Smile?

An asymmetric smile refers to when one side of your smile does not mirror the other side of your smile. 

It is related to having traits that are related to asymmetry in one’s facial structures where one side of the face does not mirror the other side of the face. 

For example simple refers to a noticeably asymmetrical facial structure where one side of your smile d, one side of your smile might go higher than the other side of your smile or in the case of facial asymmetry, one cheek is higher than the other when compared. 

It has to be mentioned that almost everyone has some degree of asymmetry on their face and body; however, it may be more noticeable in some people than others. 

It is normal and there is natural asymmetry due to one’s genetic disposition; however , in some cases, injury, ageing, smoking, and other factors can contribute to asymmetry. In the case that the asymmetry is new and very noticeable, it could be a sign of a stroke or Bell’s palsy. 

How common is it?

According to a 2015 review on facial symmetry aimed to address crucial aspects and factors to be considered for diagnosis and treatment plans for conditions related to asymmetry, facial asymmetry is fairly common across various populations which means that it is possible that asymmetrical smile is also fairly common. 

This particular review refers to a research that estimates that around 12-37 percent of the clinical population in Orthodontic care in the United States had asymmetrical facial features and in other studies, the prevalence rose up to approximately 50 percent. 

This indicates that if you have an asymmetrical smile or facial features, you are definitely not alone and it is not “abnormal”.

In fact there are such a huge number of people who have this condition and in fact, there may be plenty of others who don’t even know that they have this asymmetry and don’t report it. 

What are the causes of an Asymmetrical smile?

Here are some possible causes of an asymmetrical smile according to Kathyrn Watson for Healthline:

Genetics

It is very possible that if you have an asymmetrical smile and facial features, other people in your family have it two- it is a result of your genetics.Some health conditions related to facial features such as the Cleft lip are also related to genetics. 

Facial tissue

A 2018 study , Andrew Mathis and colleagues noted that asymmetry in facial features could be because of facial tissues elaborating that,

“… Facial and smile asymmetries can arise not only from the hard tissue, but also from the soft tissue imbalances.”

It is also possible that the symmetry of the lip can accentuate an asymmetrical shape of the face as it can impact the amount of tooth that is displaced meaning that how much your teeth shows can further make your smile look more asymmetric. 

The researchers of this study noted that the role of hard tissue in asymmetry of the face has been widely studied but they suggest that soft tissues should also get the same coverage since 

“…soft tissue asymmetry (related to one’s smile” can have a dramatic impact on the esthetic results of both orthodontic and surgical cases.”

Smoking

There have been some studies that have linked habits like smoking to facial asymmetry due to the exposure of toxins on one’s face as a result of the habit. 

Dental work

Having dental work done like surgeries related to tooth extraction can impact your facial muscles as well the use of dental veneers can lead to some form of facial asymmetry. 

Ageing

Facial asymmetry increases as one ages and it is a natural part again and it can lead to changes in your ear, nose due to growth in cartilage which can lead to asymmetrical facial features.

Lifestyle habits

Lifestyle habits that can impact symmetry of the face include:

  • Sleeping positions- sleeping on one’s stomach
  • Excessive exposure to the sun- UV rays
  • Bad posture
  • Resting your face against one’s hand

Injury

Trauma or injury to your face can cause asymmetry like in the case of a broken nose or a deep cut or jay dislocation etc. 

Bell’s palsy

Bell’s palsy is a paralysis of facial nerves and this is often observed when there is a sudden change in the symmetry of one’s facial features. 

This condition leads to a sudden weakness in the muscles of your face- typically one side of your face and can occur suddenly but it does not last- in most cases it is temporary. 

It is caused by conditions like a viral infection or after pregnancy where your face is less able or unable to move.- this can cause an asymmetry in your smile. 

Stroke

Facial drooping leading to facial asymmetry could be a result of a stroke where one’s smile can be uneven noticeably and your notice numbness on one side of your face or body.

Torticollis

Torticollis refers to an abnormal positioning of your neck muscles which can happen while you’re in the womb, resulting in facial asymmetry when you are born.

How do Asymmetrical smiles impact people?

While having an asymmetrical smile is not a life threatening condition nor is it reported to cause a major impact in the quality of life, there is some research that shows that facial symmetrical features like the symmetry of the smile can influence one’s experiences.

In other earlier studies on facial appearance in 1981, researchers tested forty-two children and forty-two adults to understand whether social attractiveness of a child could be influenced by their facial appearance. 

The test subjects were subjected to viewing black and white photographs of an attractive boy and girl and an unattractive boy and girl which were modified so there were five different versions of each photograph subject. 

The result of the study proved the hypothesis that having a “normal” appearance would lead the individual to be judged as more desirable, intelligent, and socially accepted compared to individuals who were not considered “normal” or “attractive”.

This research showed that facial attractiveness and dental aesthetics- like symmetry in the face does have some impact in the life of an individual in terms of social inclusion and desirability. 

There have even been studies that reported that individuals who are more “good looking” were perceived to be more intelligent and talented and thereby impacting their professional lives. 

The symmetry of the smile can also determine external evaluation of one’s attractiveness by other people. A 2010 study by David Havens and colleagues, reported that part of one’s facial attractiveness is the aesthetics of one’s smile. 

Their study sought to understand the role of one’s smile in overall facial esthetics.For this study 20 orthodontists and 20 laypersons were shown a series of photographs of 28 white female subjects who were smiling, not smiling, and pictures with only the mouth with a smile. 

The researchers concluded that when the subjects were shown pictures of a smile with crooked teeth or poor bites, they were considered unattractive compared to people who were not smiling and people who went under treatment to treat the malocclusion.

This study backed the idea that the smile is also an important aspect of what is considered attractive or not. Some researchers also find that the symmetry of the lips is also an important aspect of whether one’s smile is attractive or not. 

What are the treatments available for asymmetrical smiles?

Having an asymmetrical smile doesn’t necessarily need treatment to correct it as it does not cause dysfunction in the life of the individual, in fact some cultures consider it desirable where others don’t even notice the asymmetry. 

However, if a person is concerned with their appearance due to an asymmetrical face, there are some interventions that they can consider:

Fillers

Inserting fillers into a face with an injection by a medical professional may help asymmetry caused by muscle weakness and ageing. However, this is not a permanent solution to an asymmetrical smile. 

These fillers- also known as Botox- can help raise certain parts of your face- including your smile to be able to mirror one side of your face and its effects can last 3- 4 months and should be again to maintain the effect.

Facial implants

If a person has an asymmetric face due to skeletal structure, they can consider having a facial implants to give the appearance of symmetry in a face. 

This procedure is usually done to enhance the cheeks, chin, and jaw and contains material like:

  • silicone
  • gels
  • plastics
  • metals
  • Proteins (Healthline)

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what an asymmetrical smile is.

We have also briefly touched upon its prevalence, impact on human beings, it’s causes, and possible treatments available for this condition. 

FAQ related to Asymmetrical Smile

What causes asymmetrical smile?

Some of the causes of an aymmertical smile include:

  • Aging
  • Lifestyle
  • Injury
  • Stroke
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Torticollis
  • Genertics
  • Facial Tissue
  • Smoking 
  • Dental work

Can you fix an asymmetrical smile?

Having an asymmetrical smile doesn’t necessarily need treatment to correct it as it does not cause dysfunction in the life of the individual, in fact some cultures consider it desirable where others don’t even notice the asymmetry. 

However, if a person is concerned with their appearance due to an asymmetrical face, there are some interventions that they can consider fillers and facial implants and even correcting dental fixes.

Is it normal to have an uneven smile?

According to a 2015 review on facial symmetry aimed to address crucial aspects and factors to be considered for diagnosis and treatment plans for conditions related to asymmetry, facial asymmetry is fairly common across various populations which means that it is possible that asymmetrical smile is also fairly common. 

This particular review refers to a research that estimates that around 12-37 percent of the clinical population in Orthodontic care in the United States had asymmetrical facial features and in other studies, the prevalence rose up to approximately 50 percent. 

References

Watson.K.Asymmetrical Face: What Is It, and Should You Be Concerned? Healthline. Retrieved on 9th March 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/asymmetrical-face#treatment

Brown.P. What to know about having an asymmetrical face. MedicalNewsToday. Retrieved on 9th March 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/asymmetrical-face

Mathis, A., Laskin, D. M., Tüfekçi, E., Caricco, C., & Lindauer, S. J. (2018). Upper Lip Asymmetry During Smiling: An Analysis Using Three-Dimensional Images. Turkish journal of orthodontics, 31(2), 32–36. https://doi.org/10.5152/TurkJOrthod.2018.17056

Shaw WC. The influence of children’s dentofacial appearance on their social attractiveness as judged by peers and lay adults. Am J Orthod. 1981 Apr;79(4):399-415. doi: 10.1016/0002-9416(81)90382-1. PMID: 6939333.

Havens DC, McNamara JA Jr, Sigler LM, Baccetti T. The role of the posed smile in overall facial esthetics. Angle Orthod. 2010 Mar;80(2):322-8. doi: 10.2319/040409-194.1. PMID: 19905858.

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