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The effects of orthodontic treatment on lip fullness
Along with nicely aligned and white teeth, lips contribute in a decisive manner to obtaining a pleasant facial aspect and a beautiful smile. Nowadays, full, prominent lips are a symbol of sensuality and are desired by many women.
Increasingly often, I am asked whether or not an orthodontic treatment has any influence on the position and fullness of the lips. Orthodontic braces may improve the aspect of the lips or, on the contrary, by moving the teeth, the lips also become narrower?
The answer to this question is an extensively researched topic. Modern orthodontics does not only aim to align teeth and achieve a functional occlusion, but also aims to aesthetically improve the facial aspect, where lips play an important role.
The orthodontic treatment has the capacity to change the aspect of the lips, but the extent of the effect of teeth movement on the lips cannot be stated with mathematical precision. The incisors support the lips and by moving them, variable changes may appear at the level of the soft parts. It is clear that the direction in which we move the teeth influences changes at lip level: by moving the teeth forward, the lips may become more prominent, but the relationship is not directly proportional. Fuller, more voluminous lips are less influenced by the movement of teeth, and narrow, thin lips react more. By withdrawing the incisors towards the interior, the lips follow the movement of the teeth, the effect is more visible on thin lips, which may become even thinner, when unsupported by teeth. This movement may have no effects on full lips.
It is also important how the lips and the teeth touch: if, for instance, the contact is limited, the lips only touch the gum portion of the teeth, and the effect of teeth movement is smaller.
Then the orthodontic treatment plan is decided, the effects on the aesthetics of the soft parts have to be analyzed. A compromise is preferable in favor of obtaining the best facial aesthetic, rather than adhering to rigid cephalometric norms that would aesthetically compromise the look.
The focus must be on obtaining the best balance of teeth in correlation with the best facial aesthetic.
Whenever possible, the extraction and retraction of the incisors must be avoided, as an effect of sunk lips and face, unattractive and old, may appear. This is particularly applicable in the case of young patients because, with aging, the negative effects will accentuate. With the passage of years, lips become thinner, lose tonus and mobility, the visibility of the superior incisors decreases and the inferior incisors become more visible, the nose becomes more prominent and the face becomes more flat.