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Stop the Insanity of Flattening Faces!

About the time I think I’ve seen the most ridiculous thing ever, I have something happen which makes me know there is no limit to the insanity.   The influence which the U.S. has had on other societies around the world is amazing.   It is particularly amazing when it comes to the fad of producing a flattened face.   An Asian woman came to our office because of treatment she had received to flatten her face.   She hated the result and is essentially willing to do whatever it takes to try to reverse the treatment.

To flatten her face she had two teeth on each side of the upper jaw removed and the remaining six front teeth were surgically set back.  Her lips were terribly thin, and  the front teeth were hidden so far under her upper lip that she looks like she has no teeth when she smiles!  The amount of retraction and face flattening which is possible when two bicuspid teeth are removed in the upper arch and the front teeth are surgically set back is truly amazing……and the result is truly pathetic!   

The orthodontic profession came up with a diagnosis of “bimaxillary protrusion” decades ago.   This so called “disease” is essentially diagnosed by drawing a line from the nose to the chin.   If the lips are ahead of this line the face is too full.    This completely ignores the fact that so many people in all industrialized societies have recessed chins that millions of people qualify for this “diagnosis”!

This diagnosis is bad enough in a Caucasian population, but far crazier in an Asian population with noses that are typically 3-4 mm. shorter than Caucasian noses!   That same diagnostic tool of drawing a line from the nose to the chin results in most Asian people being diagnosed as “bimaxillary protrusive” – too full in the face. 

Unfortunately too often the “fix” to achieve a flatter face produces a result that is different but not better.  This patient hates her new look of not showing any front teeth and thin lips.  And from a medical perspective, her airway has been compromised to the point that she now snores.

The good news is we can help.  The bad news is she needs surgery again to change her situation.

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