When someone mentions a long face, you may think of a face that usually expresses sadness, stress, or exhaustion.
However, this is different from long face syndrome, which is a medical condition that deals with the actual structure of the skull.
Not everyone with a long, narrow face has this condition. Long face syndrome affects your daily activities such as eating, speaking and breathing.
Treatments are available and may include braces, dental treatment, and surgery.
Long face syndrome is a condition that causes a long, narrow face that causes problems with daily activities. This condition is also known by its medical name, facial hyper divergence.
When a person has long face syndrome, the lower third of their face, including the chin, is longer than standard. Oftentimes, the upper gums of people with long face syndrome become very visible when smiling. Some people also have darkened or sagging skin under their eyes.
The physical manifestations of long face syndrome are usually minor and may not be completely noticed. Many people with the condition may not be aware that they have it.
However, untreated long face syndrome can cause problems as the lower third of the face is pulled away from the rest of the face. This affects how people breathe, eat, and talk. This can lead to complications such as:
.Fatigue or never feeling completely rested
.Worn or broken teeth
Because the physical symptoms are so mild, many people struggle with one or more of these problems before they are diagnosed.
How is long face syndrome diagnosed?
It can be difficult to tell whether a person naturally has a narrow face or long face syndrome. If you think you or your child has long face syndrome, you should see a dentist or medical professional.
In children, the medical professional may recommend long face syndrome if they notice that the child is breathing through their mouth and that their chin is misaligned or has a “gum-appearing” smile.
In adults, long face syndrome is often discovered during a diagnosis of sleep apnea or dental condition.
When long face syndrome is suspected, the doctor or dentist will start by examining the face. They may take an X-ray to get exact measurements of facial proportions. In most cases, these measurements are sufficient to diagnose long face syndrome.
What causes long face syndrome?
There are many possible causes of the long face syndrome examined. Researchers disagree on the exact cause of the condition. However, it is commonly thought that long face syndrome is caused by chronic nasal congestion.
Chronic nasal congestion leads to mouth breathing. It can be caused by narrowed nasal passages or an enlargement of your adenoids, the tissue at the back of your nose.
Over time, just breathing through your mouth can pull your chin and pull your face down. Just mouth breathing also causes your tongue to push against your front teeth and can change the shape of your jaw.
Other causes of long face syndrome still need more research but may include thumb sucking and genetics. Some researchers think that genetics may explain why some children who breathe through their mouths develop long face syndrome, while others do not.
The development of long face syndrome is possible due to a combination of factors.
How is long face syndrome treated?
Treatment of long face syndrome depends on when it is diagnosed. Children may have more than one option. Long face syndrome is easiest to treat when diagnosed in young children.
In some cases, the answer may be to relieve nasal congestion. For example, surgical removal of the adenoid may allow the child to breathe through their nose.
Since a child’s face is still growing, starting to breathe through their nose can completely correct the situation. As the child grows, their face will develop normally.
Older children may benefit from a combination approach. They may have surgery to remove their adenoids and wear braces or other orthodontic aids. This approach can prevent further damage and fix damage that has already occurred.
However, once the chin is set, there are fewer options. Most people’s chins are in their teens. Surgery to correct nasal congestion at this point may help you breathe easier, but will not have any effect on long face syndrome. For this reason, teenagers and adults with long face syndrome often need jaw surgery to correct their condition.
You will not have surgery right away. You need to wear braces between 12 and 18 months before having jaw surgery. Braces will help you realign your jaw and place your teeth in the right places.
In some cases, braces may be sufficient to completely correct the long face syndrome, but in most cases, surgery will be necessary.
Your orthodontist and surgeon will work together to devise a care plan for your case. Depending on how severe your jaw misalignment is, you may also need dental procedures such as crowns or tooth reshaping.
When the orthodontist and surgeon agree that you are ready, you will have jaw surgery.
What to expect during surgery to correct long face syndrome?
Surgery to correct long face syndrome is a type of chin or orthognathic surgery.
You will have this surgery done in a hospital or surgery center. On the day of your surgery, an IV will be placed in your arm to give you fluids and medicine. Anesthesia will be administered during your jaw surgery, so an anesthesiologist will be there to monitor you during the procedure.
The surgeon cuts to move your chin to the right place. Most of these cuts will be inside your mouth, but some may need to be made outside of your mouth as well.
The surgeon will use small screws and wires to secure your chin. They reposition your jaw and can reshape your jawbone to be smaller and fit better in your mouth.
You may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two after surgery. Healing can take 6 to 12 weeks. During this time, your surgeon will advise you which activities and foods are safe. You will likely be given a prescription to help you manage the pain.
You will need to wear braces again after you recover from surgery. These braces will help hold back changes in your surgery. Your orthodontist will advise you how long you need to wear braces.
After the braces are removed, you will be given a retainer to wear at night. Your retainer will hold your teeth and jaw in place, and you will wear it for as long as instructed to make sure your long face syndrome is fully resolved.
In recent years, less invasive procedures are becoming more common. For example, the use of mini screws and braces can replace jaw surgery.
As a result;
The physical signs of long face syndrome may go unnoticed. However, there are some major concerns for people with this condition.
The earlier the long face syndrome is detected, the easier it is to correct. Children may need a single surgery to correct a stuffy nose, but adults may need years of braces and complex jaw surgery to correct the condition.