Scientists have long studied attraction to find out what the majority of people find most appealing and why. They have found that there are a large number of factors at play, from body shape to hormone levels, and even the way a person dresses. Studies have also found that the symmetry of one’s face can affect how attractive they appear to others. Symmetry describes when parts of your body are like mirror images of one another. Studies have found that humans prefer faces that are more symmetrical.
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh found that childhood is reflected in the face. In their studies, they measured 15 different facial features to determine asymmetry in the face. They found that subjects with more asymmetric faces also had harder childhoods. Trauma, stress, illness, and even exposure to cigarette smoke during childhood development all seemed to contribute to asymmetry. Facial symmetry may be a subtle signal that a person has the ability to cope well with environmental stressors, suggesting positive character traits that lead to more success in that person’s life.
Our brains are hard-wired to seek out symmetry in faces. Babies will watch images of symmetrical faces for longer than asymmetric ones. Our brain may be looking for those subtle signals of success, but may also be looking for signs of illness. There are several conditions that can cause a face to appear uneven, including bone disorders, degenerative conditions, stroke, and bells palsy. Our teeth also play a large role in how even our face appears to others.
When we lose teeth, our facial structure changes because our teeth support the muscles of our face. Without that support, our facial muscles sink in. Our face can look uneven when we are missing teeth on one side of the face and not the other. Implants and dental bridges can fill these spaces and give support back to the structure of the face.
Facial asymmetry can also be caused by a condition called an occlusal cant, which happens when teeth appear to be slanted compared to the alignment of the nose and lips. The bite plane becomes uneven, tilting facial muscles and the jaw out of their usual alignment. Studies have found that even 4 degrees of tilt is visible to 90% of casual observers. This condition is typically caused by asymmetries in the jaw itself. It can also occur when a significant number of teeth on one side of the mouth are missing, causing the bite to be uneven. This condition is best corrected quickly to prevent other painful conditions such as TMJ from developing, which can lead to further asymmetry of the face.
In cases where teeth are missing, implants and dental bridges can be used to help readjust the bite. If the occlusal cant is caused by asymmetries in the jaw itself, porcelain veneers can help. They will not correct the problem, but can work in conjunction with other treatment to create a balance of symmetry. Braces and orthodontic surgery may be required in more severe cases.
To learn more about the ways that restoration and cosmetic dentistry could help create symmetry in your face, please call 509-368-7788 for an appointment at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics in Spokane.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788