How to avoid the bigger lips look from braces.
Dr. Todd Ehrler
Table of Contents
- Lips Get You Noticed
- Lip Shape
- Stretched Lips Pain
- At-Home Care
- Smile Improvement
You know braces change the look of your teeth. But it might surprise you to discover that the brackets, wires, and bands that improve your smile can stretch your lips.
Lips stretched by braces don't look natural, and they may hurt too. At-home care can help you ease some discomfort, or you could choose a different form of smile improvement and skip the lip shift altogether.
Your lips get you noticed.
Braces shoppers often prioritize their teeth. But your lips say a lot about your age, your health, and your attractiveness. Take care of them, and you're more likely to get the positive attention you want.
Researchers say that pouty, full lips are considered attractive by both men and women. We like lips to seem open, pillowy, and cushioned. That’s due, in part, to the fact that lips thin as we age. Full lips mean youth, fashion experts say, and that’s often associated with vitality and overall attractiveness.
But beautiful, full lips get that shape naturally. A mouth changed by braces does not produce the same type of lip. Lips that are pushed out by braces often look awkward.
Braces change your lip shape.
Sign up for braces, and your orthodontist will:
Connect Brackets with Wires
Stretched lips are painful.
Your lips are elastic and movable so you can pucker up for a kiss or turn the edges up or down to express emotion. But with braces, your lips hold an unnatural shape for a long time, and that can be really uncomfortable.
Your lips are the most sensitive parts of your body, experts say. More than a million nerve endings line them. Each little nerve can send a signal of pain when the lips are pushed and stretched by braces.
After a day or two of stretching, your lips may also feel:
Cut and Bruised
At-home care for chapped lips.
Braces sit on your teeth around the clock. There's no way to remove them at home. In time, your lips should adjust to the brackets, and the discomfort should decrease. But there are at-home steps you can take to ease pain while you wait.
When lip pain strikes:
Try Lip Balm
Drink Cool Water
Use Pain Relievers
Improve your smile without hurting your lips.
It's clear that braces push your lips up and out, and they can cut up the inside of your mouth too. You have options that could spare your lips, however.
Lingual braces, for example, are glued to the backside of your teeth. They are far from your lips, but they can change the way your tongue sits in your mouth, experts say. You may talk with a bit of a lisp when you have lingual braces. You might need to practice both talking and swallowing to get the hang of life with these braces.
Aligners can help protect your lips, and they don't harm your tongue in return. These devices are molded to closely fit around your teeth, and they don't protrude the way braces do.
Aligners can move your teeth with remarkable speed, and they're also difficult to spot with the naked eye. People won't notice pushed lips or shiny hardware. They'll just see your ever-changing smile. If you have an important meeting and want to take them out completely, you can do so.
To improve your smile without causing lip or tongue pain, aligners are a great choice.
Is It Possible to Define the Ideal Lips? (February 2018). Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica.
The Anti-Aging Guide for Lips. (February 2020). Harper's Bazaar.
7 Amazing Facts About Your Lips. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
Lingual Braces: The Upside and Downside of Braces on the Back Side. (June 2019). Healthline.
What Are Lingual Braces? Colgate.