What impacts the way our face will eventually look? Sure genetics plays a significant role but they’re often a framework for potential versus guaranteed physical traits. Our behavior and physical habits can also shape the way we look and the extent of our facial development within the potential of our genetics. Our face is our identity and who we are to the world, so are there things we can do that affect facial development?

Facial Development and TMJ

Influencers of Facial Development

There are three primary structures that are the most influential in the way the head and face develop. Some aspects of these, we have control over and others we don’t. However our environment can have a significant impact on the way we look.

  • Tongue
  • Temporomandibular joint
  • Airway

1. Tongue

The tongue is discreetly responsible for applying continuous pressure to the upper jaw. Close your mouth and notice for a moment where your tongue naturally rests. Is it on the floor of your mouth or pressed to the top behind your front teeth? This mild, yet consistent stimulation is largely responsible for mid-face development (your profile).

Where someone rests their tongue within the lower jaw due to tongue tie – short tether – it can also affect the development of the upper jaw since the tongue is not balancing the inward forces of cheek muscles nor drive the forward development of the maxilla. In turn, the lower jaw is retruded and results in a “weak chin”..

2. Temporomandibular Joint

A TMJ (jaw joint) that develops incorrectly or becomes dysfunctional can lead to an underdeveloped jaw. When a jaw doesn’t reach it’s full growth potential it can lead to teeth becoming crowded and crooked. In addition to the consequences for a person’s smile, an underdeveloped jaw can appear as a weak jaw as opposed to a more sculpted, physically appealing jaw line. Behaviors like thumb sucking, mouth breathing, and traumatic accidents can all alter jaw development.

3. Airway

Poor airway development can change the way someone holds their face. For example, someone who does not breathe through their nose will generally hold their mouth slightly open in order to breathe which can carry perceptual implications as well. This poor airway development is generally caused by breathing habits. If as a child someone gets a cold that keeps them from breathing through a stuffy nose they may continue to breathe through their out long afterward, changing the way their body adapts.

Poor airway development and improper tongue posturing can also contribute to sleep apnea which can cause dark circles under the eyes and general fatigued features in the face such as wrinkles.

Solutions to Poor Facial Development

Modifying behaviors and altering environmental stressors to facial development early can have significant effects on a person’s facial features. However, through remodeling guidance treatments, patients can also see noticeable improvement in their faces. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Raman, patients can call our office at (816) 436-4422.