Dental and facial asymmetries: a review

Angle Orthod. 1994;64(2):89-98. doi: 10.1043/0003-3219(1994)064<0089:DAFAAR>2.0.CO;2.


Asymmetry in the face and dentition is a naturally occurring phenomenon. In most cases facial asymmetry can only be detected by comparing homologous parts of the face. The etiology of asymmetry includes: a) Genetic or congenital malformations e.g. hemifacial microsomia and unilateral clefts of the lip and palate; b) Environmental factors, e.g. habits and trauma; c) Functional deviations, e.g. mandibular shifts as a result of tooth interferences. Dental asymmetries and a variety of functional deviations can be treated orthodontically. On the other hand, significant structural facial asymmetries are not easily amenable to orthodontic treatment. These problems may require orthopedic correction during the growth period and/or surgical management at a later point. Patient complaints and desires need to be addressed since they may vary from unrealistic expectations to a lack of concern even in the presence of large deviations. With mild dental, skeletal and soft tissue deviations the advisability of treatment should be carefully considered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Facial Asymmetry* / classification
  • Facial Asymmetry* / diagnosis
  • Facial Asymmetry* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Malocclusion / diagnosis
  • Malocclusion / therapy