Facial asymmetry

17 Jul

As I mentioned last weekend, my jaw has healed in such a way as to compromise my facial symmetry. As promised, here are some more details. Note that all of the photos here, like most photographs, are mirror images.

The asymmetry is least obvious when my mouth and lips are closed. My chin looks a little bit slanted, but my lips look fairly normal.

Closed mouth

When I open my lips but leave my teeth together, the asymmetry becomes a little bit more visible. My lips open a little bit further on the right side than the left side.


It becomes more obvious as soon as I open my teeth. My lips open significantly further on the right side than on the left side, and my repaired teeth are  smaller than my natural teeth.

Mouth narrowly open

One of the more striking asymmetries is seen when I move my lower jaw as far as I can to the left…
Lower jaw to left
…and then to the right.
Lower jaw to right
No, I didn’t upload the wrong photo for that last one, I just can’t move my mandible visibly to the right.

Finally, here’s my wide open mouth. The picture’s a little bit deceiving because my head isn’t quite straight, but there is some serious asymmetry. My mouth opens considerably wider on the right side, and this is visible not only in my slanted chin, but the different amounts of tooth visible on the left and right side.

Wide open mouth

Unlike some of the other little remaining signs of the accident, this isn’t something I expect to go away. I’ve read much of a study (subscription required) by Edward Ellis and Gaylord Throckmorton in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery found that patients who had condylar mandibular fractures treated by closed methods developed shortening of the face (measured from x-rays of the facial bones). Ellis and Throckmorton found that asymmetry in patients with closed treatment tended to increase somewhat over time rather than decrease. One caveat is that their study didn’t include any patients treated by maxillomandibular fixation (MMF) as I was, but they speculate that patients whose jaws were wired might develop even more asymmetry than the ones in their study. Thus, I don’t think this asymmetry will be going away unless I should fracture the right condyle.


5 Responses to “Facial asymmetry”

  1. Rick March 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    Hey, why didnt the dentists repair your front teeth to put it at the same size? is it possible for them to do so?

  2. Rick March 13, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Hey, in this page, how come the dentists didnt match your teeth to be the right size? Is it possible for them to do so? What exactly happened to your teeth, and what have they tried/can do to fix?

  3. Christy April 17, 2011 at 11:34 am #


    I was in a really bad MVA in 1988, I was 16 yo. Along with multiple other fractures, I had 2 fractures of the right mandible and the left side of my chin was crushed. I have plate and screws on the right and a plate in my chin. The asymmetry that has developed over the years makes me look like I’ve had a stroke. Funny thing is, I’m a nurse of 18 yrs now working for a neurologist, he sometimes wonders if I’ve had a stroke !! The right side of my face is droopier and my mouth droops. My teeth have always been unaligned-i can never tear a potato chip bag open with my teeth 🙂 I am very sef-coscious of this. Have you ever heard of anyone getting this fixed somehow ?


  1. A return to normalcy « Shock and Jaw - November 8, 2009

    […] few things are not normal, but these are of lesser practical importance. The facial asymmetries persist (and I expect that they will be permanent). I also don’t have normal feeling on much […]

  2. Asymmetry update « Shock and Jaw - December 29, 2009

    […] at 8:27 pm · Filed under Injuries ·Tagged broken jaw, facial symmetry I mentioned in my last post on facial asymmetry a study that found that facial asymmetry increased over time in patients who had broken jaws […]

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