Faces and Braces


Police have used special techniques to identify skeletal remains, one of which is the practice of placing putty over the skull so a face can be visualized.

Orthodontists have long looked to the face to determine if certain types of orthodontic treatment would enhance the face. When teeth are moved, the face moves!! In other words, if police would place putty on a skull and then orthodontic treatment were performed on that skull, the resulting face would be different from the original face. Not only are teeth moved during orthodontic treatment, but facial bones are also routinely moved during orthodontic treatment.

The question still researched and debated today by orthodontists is: how does orthodontic treatment affect the face and how can orthodontic treatment be used to enhance the face of the patient?

Dr. Avila was a general dentist for ten years before going back to school to specialize in orthodontics. He recalls a young man struggling to live on a minimum wage income. The young man came to Dr. Avila to have his upper teeth straighten through the use of cosmetic dentistry. Although Dr. Avila could perform the cosmetic procedures, he tried to convince the young man to be treated by an orthodontist instead of having the six crowns to straighten his teeth. The young man was reluctant to have orthodontic treatment. After several appointments for root canals and restoration of decayed teeth, Dr. Avila was able to convince the young man to have the orthodontic treatment. It was going to cost less than having the cosmetic procedures done! A year later, a different young man came in to have his teeth cleaned. The receptionist did not recognize this new young man. He now had beautiful green eyes which previously went unnoticed because of the attention drawn to his teeth and the effect his teeth had on his face. Dr. Avila remembers the young man telling him how girls now noticed him when he walked by!