Sunken Face After Braces: Fact or Fiction?

Orthodontic treatments, like braces, are primarily designed to correct dental misalignments, offering patients a chance at a radiant smile. But what happens when unexpected facial changes, such as a sunken face after braces, become a topic of concern? Is it a common occurrence or just a myth?

Join us as we delve into this intriguing subject, shedding light on the intricate relationship between orthodontics and facial aesthetics. If you’ve ever wondered about the potential side effects of braces on facial structure, this is an exploration you won’t want to miss.

Can braces make your face look sunken?

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Certainly, braces primarily aim to correct dental misalignments and improve bite function. However, in some cases, particularly when extractions are involved or when significant movement of the teeth occurs, there can be subtle changes to one’s facial profile.

While braces don’t directly cause a sunken face, removing teeth or changes in the bite can lead to slight alterations in facial aesthetics. It’s essential to discuss any concerns with a dentist or an orthodontist to understand the potential outcomes of any orthodontic treatment.

Causes of sunken face after orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment, primarily known for correcting dental misalignments and enhancing smiles, can sometimes lead to unexpected facial changes. One such change that patients occasionally notice is a sunken face or sunken cheeks after wearing braces. This phenomenon, while not common, can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Tooth Extraction: Tooth extraction might be recommended in certain orthodontic cases, especially those involving overcrowding. Removing premolars or other teeth can sometimes lead to a sunken appearance in the cheeks, given the reduced dental arch and fewer teeth supporting the facial skin.
  2. Bone Loss: The alveolar bone supports our teeth. Significant movement of teeth during the orthodontic process can sometimes lead to minor bone loss, which might contribute to thin cheeks or a sunken look.
  3. Facial Fat and Muscles: The pressure exerted by braces, especially during palatal expansion or significant repositioning of teeth, can impact the facial fat and muscles. This can lead to changes in facial aesthetics, with the cheeks appearing more sunken.
  4. Natural Aging and Craniofacial Development: It’s essential to differentiate between changes caused by braces and those resulting from natural aging or craniofacial development. As we age, loss of facial fat and changes in midface bones can lead to sunken temples and cheeks, irrespective of orthodontic treatment.
  5. Lingual Braces and Retention Period: The braces positioned behind the teeth can push the tongue upward against the palate. This constant pressure might lead to subtle changes in the jaw and cheeks over time. Additionally, the retention period post-braces, where patients wear retainers, can influence the final facial outcome.

Patients must maintain open communication with their orthodontist throughout the treatment. While most people won’t experience a sunken face after braces, being aware of potential changes and discussing concerns can ensure a holistic approach to oral health and facial aesthetics.


Do sunken cheeks go away after braces?

Certainly, sunken cheeks can concern some individuals after undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces. However, whether or not the sunken appearance will revert post-treatment largely depends on the cause. If the sunken cheeks result from tooth extraction during the orthodontic process, the appearance might remain, as the dental arch has been altered.

On the other hand, if the sunken look is due to temporary changes in facial muscles or minor bone loss from teeth movement, there’s potential for improvement over time. It’s essential to consult with an orthodontist or dental professional to understand the specific circumstances and potential outcomes related to facial aesthetics after wearing braces.

How to fix sunken cheeks after braces

While primarily focused on achieving a perfect smile, the journey of orthodontic treatment can sometimes lead to unintended changes in facial aesthetics, such as sunken cheeks. For those who experience this post-braces phenomenon, understanding the potential solutions is crucial.

  1. Dermal Fillers: One of the most common treatments for sunken cheeks, irrespective of the cause, is dermal fillers. Hyaluronic acid, a popular component in most dermal fillers, can be injected into the cheeks to restore volume and provide a fuller appearance.
  2. Cheek Implants: Submalar or cheekbone implants can be considered as a more permanent solution. These are surgically placed under the skin to enhance the cheek’s contour and combat the sunken look.
  3. Palatal Expansion: If the sunken appearance is due to tooth extractions that were part of the orthodontic process, some dental professionals might recommend palatal expansion. This procedure aims to widen the dental arch, potentially alleviating the sunken appearance.
  4. Facial Exercises: Engaging in specific facial exercises can strengthen facial muscles, potentially improving the appearance of sunken cheeks over time.
  5. Consultation with an Orthodontist: It’s essential to revisit your orthodontist or a dental professional to discuss the changes in facial aesthetics. They can provide insights into the cause and recommend treatments or refer you to specialists.
  6. Alternative Dental Treatments: In some cases, wearing retainers or undergoing additional dental treatments can help reposition the teeth, which might indirectly affect the cheeks’ appearance.

In conclusion, while sunken lips and cheeks after braces can be concerning, multiple solutions, from cosmetic procedures to dental treatments, can address the issue. It’s crucial to consult with professionals to choose the best course of action tailored to individual needs.

What are submalar cheek implants?

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Submalar cheek implants are a specific type of facial implant designed to enhance and restore fullness to the midface, particularly in the area below the eyes and to the sides of the mouth. This procedure is often sought by individuals who feel their face lacks volume or appears “sunken” due to aging, congenital factors, or other reasons.

  • Purpose: The primary purpose of submalar cheek implants is to provide a fuller, more youthful appearance to the cheeks. They specifically target the submalar region, which is the area of the face that can often appear hollow or recessed.
  • Material: These implants are typically made from biocompatible materials such as solid silicone, which is safe and durable. The material is chosen to provide a natural look and feel once implanted.
  • Procedure: The surgical process involves making a small incision to place the implant on the cheekbone, often inside the mouth. Once positioned correctly, the implant is secured, and the incision is closed.
  • Benefits: Submalar cheek implants offer a permanent solution for facial volume loss. They can significantly improve facial symmetry and provide a rejuvenated appearance.
  • Recovery: Post-surgery, patients might experience swelling and discomfort, but these symptoms typically subside within a week or two. Following post-operative care instructions is essential to ensure proper healing and optimal results.

In conclusion, submalar cheek implants are a specialized facial enhancement procedure that targets the midface region, offering individuals a solution to achieve fuller, more youthful-looking cheeks. As with any surgical procedure, consulting with a qualified plastic or facial surgeon is crucial to determine if this treatment is the right fit for one’s aesthetic goals.

Can braces fix sunken face?

Orthodontic treatments, such as braces, are primarily designed to correct serious dental problems, misalignments, and bite issues. However, many patients and potential brace wearers often wonder about the broader implications of braces on facial aesthetics, particularly whether braces can address or cause a sunken face. Let’s delve into this topic in detail.

  1. Purpose of Braces: The primary goal of braces is to align teeth and correct bite issues. While they can influence the jaw’s position and, by extension, facial aesthetics, their primary function isn’t to address facial structure concerns like sunken cheeks.
  2. Potential for Change: Braces can lead to subtle changes in one’s facial profile. Correcting an overbite might lead to a more pronounced chin and improved facial balance. However, these changes are typically subtle and more pronounced in significant dental misalignments.
  3. Tooth Extractions: In some orthodontic cases, tooth extractions are necessary to create space for teeth to move into their desired positions. This can sometimes lead to a slight inward movement of the cheeks, giving a slightly sunken appearance. However, this is not guaranteed and varies from patient to patient.
  4. Bone Structure and Growth: Braces can influence the growth direction of the jaw in growing adolescents. This can impact facial aesthetics, but the primary goal is dental alignment.
  5. Post-Treatment Solutions: If patients feel their face appears sunken after orthodontic treatment, there are various cosmetic procedures, from dermal fillers to cheek implants, that can address these concerns.

In conclusion, while braces can lead to subtle changes in facial aesthetics, they are not a direct solution for a sunken face. It’s essential to have a detailed discussion with a doctor or an orthodontist about potential facial changes before undergoing treatment.


Understanding the potential facial changes is crucial in navigating the world of orthodontics. The concern of having a sunken face after braces is one many individuals grapple with. While braces primarily aim to correct dental alignments, they can lead to subtle shifts in facial aesthetics. It’s essential to approach orthodontic treatments with well-informed expectations and to consult with professionals about any potential changes. Remember, every individual’s experience is unique, and while some might notice slight changes, others may not. The journey to a perfect smile is personal, and understanding all facets, including potential facial impacts, ensures a more confident and informed decision.



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