Long face syndrome is a medical condition that differs from the figure of speech. While “having a long face” can refer to someone being sad, upset, or exhausted, long face syndrome specifically refers to a medical condition affecting everyday activities like talking, chewing, and even breathing.
This article will discuss what the condition entails, how doctors or dentists may diagnose it, and what causes it. Next, we’ll talk about the treatment options available and when you should check in with a doctor.
What Is Long Face Syndrome?
The medical name for long face syndrome is a skeletal open bite. Its characteristic physical features include:
- A distinctly long lower-third of the face, including the jaw and teeth.
- Loose skin under the eyes, often drooping or darker-colored than the rest of the face
- A misaligned jaw
- Crowded teeth that may show signs of damage or wear
- A “gummy” smile – a smile that shows visible gums in the upper jaw
Because long face syndrome can manifest with such mild physical characteristics, people may not even know they have it. However, they may experience some of the associated symptoms that come with a longer lower-third of the face, such as:
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Never feeling well-rested
- Constant fatigue or tiredness
- Sleep apnea, particularly obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
Causes Of Long Face Syndrome
While doctors and researchers disagree about what causes long face syndrome, it’s commonly suspected that nasal obstruction is to blame.
Consider: your nose is constantly blocked. This forces you to breathe through your mouth. Over time, this can cause your jaw to shift downwards, slowly pulling your face along with it.
Genetic factors may also play a role.
It’s difficult to diagnose long face syndrome on your own – a dental specialist can help if you suspect someone has it.
A healthcare professional may diagnose long face syndrome if they notice nasal obstruction causing a person to breathe through their mouth or if a person has sleep apnea. A dentist may also investigate if they see a bite misalignment or a “gummy” smile.
If your doctor suspects you have long face syndrome, they will take X-rays of the face and measure your proportions to see if anything is amiss.
Generally, correcting long face syndrome requires surgical treatment known as orthognathic surgery, referring to surgery involving the jaw.
The correction surgery requires you to be asleep, so the anesthesiologists will insert an IV into your arm to provide you with medication. Next, the surgeon will cut your jaw, serving to let
it move into the corrective position. Then, If the surgeon needs to reshape or refine the jaw bone, they will do so. Finally, they secure the jaw with screws and stabilizing wire.
After your surgery, your jaw will take 8 to 12 weeks to heal, during which you must consume a specific diet and medication to manage pain.
To ensure your condition is appropriately corrected, your doctor will ask you to wear braces or a retainer for some time, making sure your teeth and jaw stay in their required positions.
If you suspect you have long face syndrome or suffer from associated complications, it’s a good call to visit a dentist. They can have a look and determine whether treatment is necessary.
See why we’re the best dentist in Houston, TX! At A+ Star Smile Dental, we offer personalized treatment for each patient, with our promise of dedication to excellence. Please feel free to give us a call at (713) 984-4934, and we’ll be happy to help answer any questions or schedule you for an appointment.