Long Face Syndrome: Causes, Risks and Treatment

Long face syndrome still remains a subject of discussion for decades. Long face, in a dictionary or to a layman is an expression on your face when you are sad or gloomy. When you have a long face, it literally mean that you look disappointed or unhappy.

However a long face syndrome is a medical condition that has to deal with how the skull is structured. Long-Face Syndrome, or facial hyper divergence, is a disproportion of facial features by which an elongated face impression is created, even if its dimensions are normal.

People with this condition always have a gummy smile on their face even if they are happy or sad. Their eyes are usually droopy and the skin around their eyes are darkened. The lower third of their face, including their jaw and chin, are longer than the standard and when they smile, their gums are shown. 

Because of this facial condition, they have a way of talking, eating, breathing and smiling which is different from those with normal face structure. 

To know someone with this syndrome, an x-ray will be needed but sometimes, the facial appearance can help discover this. A child with long face syndrome will always breath through the mouth and the jaw will be misaligned. While in adults, the teeth will be crowded.


One of the reasons why people have long face syndrome is due to genes. There are genetics factors that can cause one to have this medical condition. Although researches are yet to find more evidences to support this. 

Chronic nasal obstruction is also a reason for this syndrome. When the adenoids (which are the soft tissues that are found at the back of the cavity in the nose) are enlarged than normal. This will cause the patient to breath through the mouth thereby pulling the jaw and other parts of the face downwards and the face becomes longer than it should.



Long face syndrome can result to many complications like

(1) Crowded teeth

The teeth will become crowded as there is no space in the mouth which will cause them to be crooked, overlapped and misaligned. This can cause a reduction in one’s self-esteem. You will not be able to chew food properly and do other dental activities normally.

(2) Snoring

Because of the obstruction of the nasal cavity, breathing will become hard and this will result to snoring while sleeping.

(3) Sleep apnea

This is a serious sleeping disorder. Long face syndrome can make your breathing to be interrupted – this means that while sleeping, your breathing can stop for sometime and start again. This can lead to death.

(4) Jaw misalignment

Because of how crooked and misaligned your teeth would be, it will also affect your jaw. Your upper and lower jaw cannot be comfortably on the same angle. This might also results into disorted face.


When this medical condition is noticed and diagnosed in early childhood, it is easier to treat. If it is caused by a nasal obstruction, the first step is to surgically remove the enlarged adenoids so that normal breathing can continue. If this is done, the child’s face and jaw will align with time as they grow.

In children who are older, the surgery of removing the adenoids can be used to correct the nasal obstruction and braces can be used to correct the crooked teeth. However, this procedure cannot correct the syndrome especially if permanent teeth have set in. You can breath very well but the long jaws and face might not change. 

The next option is to have a jaw surgery. After the nasal obstruction surgery, you will need to use braces for at least 12 months before you can have the jaw surgery. Long face surgery is done on the jaws. Before the procedure is started, an anesthesia will be administered to reduce pain and numb the area.

A surgeon makes cuts inside and outside your mouth mostly around your jaws. These cuts will enable them move your jaws to the right places.
Screws and wires are used on your jaws to stabilize them and put them in place. These inserted wires and tiny screws will make your jaws smaller to be able to fit into your mouth.

After this procedure, you will be asked to stay in the hospital for at least two days so that you will be monitored. Your doctor will recommend mostly soft and can drinks as your primary meal during the recovery process so that you will not end up stressing the jaws and disrupting the healing process. The healing takes time for at least 6 to 12 weeks as it is a gradual process.

Just like after the nasal obstruction surgery, you will need to wear braces for sometime to keep your teeth in place. When these braces are removed, a retainer will be given to correct the long face. This retainer will be worn at night.


Long face syndrome affects the face and this can cause some to become embarrassed and ashamed. People with this condition can have sleeping disorder, breathing issues, distorted face, crooked teeth, misaligned jaw and eating problems.

If this syndrome is noticed early in a child, the treatment will be easier and corrections can be quick. But in adults, surgeries are recommended. After the surgeries, follow the doctor’s instructions so that your recovery process does not take longer than it should.

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