Keep your face looking rejuvenated by achieving your optimal facial height.

Round, oval, heart-shaped: our faces come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but one thing we all have in common is loss of facial height with age. When your jaw shifts position due to aging or a change in your dental structure, it can not only cause pain and inflammation, it also reduces your overall facial dimensions. Strategic cosmetic contouring and highlighting can only go so far in terms of creating the illusion of a strong jaw line—eventually cosmetic enhancement may be your best recourse for keeping your face looking youthful. We consulted with Dr. Vasant Ramlaggan, DDS, of Midtown Dental in Toronto to break down options for optimizing facial height through corrective jaw placement treatments. 

1. Minimally invasive, temporary fix 

“A temporary and less costly fix for height and pain issues can be removable appliances to hold the jaw height, which give the face a more youthful appearance,” explains Dr. Ramlaggan. Clear, plastic, denture- like appliances, or clear covers that fit over the teeth, can be used nightly, daily or both as recommended by your dental professional. Consistency is key when using a temporary device, since jaw positioning will regress if the device is used infrequently. Removable appliances can cost approximately $2,000 to $3,000. 

2. Orthodontic work 

“Orthodontic work, including appliances, allows repositioning of the jaw and an increase in height without the surgical fuss,” says Dr. Ramlaggan. This treatment is usually highly effective and can cost $7,000 to $9,000, depending on the complexity of the case. The use of braces, for example, can raise the height of teeth and jaw position depending on the age of the patient. Worried about how they’ll look? Fear not! Braces have come a long way since those dreaded yearbook photos, with many invisible options available for a subtle, more natural aesthetic. 

3. Invasive procedure 

“The most invasive corrective procedure is jaw surgery: and it’s always done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. It’s not usually done solely for facial height, but to adjust forward or backward positions of the jaw,” explains Dr. Ramlaggan. While some jaw surgeries can be covered by provincial health plans, they otherwise cost approximately $8,000 to $10,000. Recovery time after surgery can be up to a few weeks, with a wired jaw for immobilization. “Not all surgeries are completely successful, and a patient may still require appliance therapy. Surgery is normally for those with both cosmetic concerns and functional concerns. My preference is to move teeth and [a] jaw with appliances as it’s less invasive,” adds Dr. Ramlaggan. 

Being proactive with healthy habits now will help to minimize the occurrence of jaw-related health issues down the line. “One of the best ways to maintain facial height to the most aesthetic position is to ensure great oral hygiene and protection from grinding and clenching forces,” says Dr. Ramlaggan. Book your annual dental visit to ensure you’re not only receiving a deep cleaning, but also to catch and prevent any jaw alignment issues early on. 

Do you grind your teeth?

“With teeth grinding—for reasons such as sleep issues or stress—we also lose facial height,” explains Dr. Ramlaggan. Grinding your teeth can seriously affect your beauty sleep, increase wrinkles around your mouth, nose and chin and cause a bevvy of jaw issues. The result can be damaged jaw joints and pain, noise in joints, or temporomandibular disorder (TMJ) . Take note if you wake up in the morning feeling aches in your jaw: you may be unknowingly grinding your teeth in your sleep.