Q: Dr. Eppley, Is it possible to install cheekbone implants while wearing braces? And if so, is it recommended? To be more specific, it’s reasonable to think that, once the braces will be removed and the teeth aligned, my face would appear different from now. Would it be unwise then, to undergo a surgery while not taking into consideration the aesthetic changes brought by the braces?
A: The question you are asking is whether braces distort the face so that it makes it more difficult to judge the effects of intraoperative sizing of cheek implants…or maybe whether cheek implants are even needed at all when the braces come off. The answer is no. Braces do create some lip distortion/protrusion but not above the dedntoalveolar facial level. They cause no facial changes at the cheek level. Only if the braces are in preparation for orthognathic (jaw) surgery with major jaw repositioning anticipated should the consideration of delaying cheek implants until afterward be considered.
From a technical aspect, braces do not impede or make the placement of cheek implants any more difficult than if they were not there. Cheek implants are placed through high maxillary vestibular mucosal incisions which are well away from the location of the orthodontic brackets and wires on the teeth.
Dr. Barry Eppley