Do Braces Make Your Lips Bigger? What You Need to Know

Have you been worrying that getting braces will leave you with huge, puffy lips? This is a common concern for those considering orthodontic treatment. Do Braces Make Your Lips Bigger? Read on for the complete picture of how braces can impact your lips and what you can expect.

Do Braces Make Your Lips Bigger?

To provide a simple answer upfront—braces can temporarily change the size and shape of your lips during treatment, but do not alter their permanent structure.

As braces shift your teeth into alignment, pressure placed on your jaw and surrounding mouth tissue can cause temporary effects on their appearance. However, once braces are removed, your lips generally return to close to their original form.

So while your lips may appear stretched, more protruded, or fuller around the braces hardware during orthodontics, these are not permanent changes. Their structure is not altered on a lasting basis.

Understanding Orthodontic Treatment Effects

To understand why braces impact lip appearance, it’s important to comprehend just what orthodontic treatment sets out to accomplish.

Braces place gradual pressure on your teeth to shift their positioning over time. This is what ultimately straightens a crooked or crowded smile.

This pressure does not just affect the teeth though—your entire jaw structure and surrounding mouth tissue adapt around the realignment taking place.

  • As the teeth shift, the jawbone and gum lines reform to some degree to accommodate their new positioning.
  • Similarly, the lips and cheeks must stretch and adapt around the hardware of the braces themselves.

This is why most patients see temporary changes in the size, shape, or proportions of their facial features during treatment.

Once the teeth are straightened fully and braces removed however, these other mouth structures relax back to their baseline appearance.

Impact of Braces on Lip Appearance

There are a few main ways that wearing braces may alter the look of your lips while they are on:

  • Stretching – Lips may be pushed out or appear fuller as they conform around repositioning teeth and brace hardware.
  • Protrusion – Pressure on the teeth can sometimes cause a temporary lip protrusion effect.
  • Inflammation – Rubbing on metal brackets can irritate the lips, causing puffiness or swelling.
  • Braces hardware – The braces themselves, with rubber bands, wires etc. take up space between the lips making them appear larger.

Many patients report their lips looking noticeably bigger or more exaggerated while wearing braces. How extensive this effect is varies by individual mouth/jaw structure and type of orthodontic treatment though.

Temporary Changes vs. Permanent Results

The key takeaway if you notice your lips seeming larger during braces treatment is—try not to worry, as these changes are temporary!

Your orthodontist is moving the teeth themselves but is not permanently impacting bone structure or other mouth anatomy.

Once braces straighten your bite to its proper alignment and are removed, the pressures placed on surrounding tissue gets released.

  • Your lips should then relax back to close to their original size and shape.
  • Any protrusion or puffiness generally goes away shortly after braces come off as inflammation dies down.
  • Overall facial proportions linked to crooked teeth also improve, since your smile is realigned.

So while lip changes can be concerning during treatment, you can rest assured they are just part of the teeth straightening process and not lasting alterations.

Managing Lip Changes During Braces Treatment

Managing Lip Changes During Braces Treatment
Managing Lip Changes During Braces Treatment

If your lips are feeling particularly sore or irritated during orthodontic treatment, there are a few things you can do to help manage:

  • Apply lip balm frequently – this helps prevent chapping and discomfort.
  • Massage lips gently if numbness/tingling occurs – improves blood flow.
  • Drink lots of water – keeps lips hydrated to avoid stretching.
  • Discuss discomfort with your orthodontist at adjust visits.
    • They can advise treatment timeline or recommend next steps.

Voicing any lip concerns early allows your orthodontist to keep a close eye and intervene if changes seem outside normal range.

Consulting Your Orthododontist for Lip Concerns

If you notice your lips seeming much more enlarged or misshapen than expected with braces, consult your orthodontist.

Explain your specific symptoms and ask:

  • Are my lip changes on track with my intended treatment plan?
  • Do I need to alter my orthodontic technique at all to address this?

An orthodontist should be able to examine your unique case and determine:

  • If lip size changes are an expected part of your realignment process.
  • Provide guidance on managing discomfort until braces are removed.

This can give you peace of mind that any noticeable differences in lip shape or size will resolve once teeth straightening is complete.

What Effect Do Braces Have on Facial Structure?

A common underlying concern around lip appearance changes is that braces may be permanently altering facial bone structure.

The good news is orthodontic treatment does not directly impact the growth or position of facial bones themselves:

  • Braces move teeth – they do not shift the jaw joints or alter craniofacial proportions.
  • Teeth are the only hard structures braces themselves act upon to straighten position over time.
  • This includes putting pressure on the tooth roots within the jaw bone housing.

So while realigning the teeth can temporarily impact gum tissue immediately around the teeth as it reforms to the new tooth positioning, it does not change facial bone shape.

Once braces straighten your bite and relieve pressure on surrounding mouth tissue, your face should return to its baseline natural structure.

Do Braces Make Your Lips Pop Out?

You may come across claims that wearing braces causes the lips to “pop out” or protrude noticeably. Is there any truth to this?

Some minor temporary protrusion can occasionally happen as a side effect of braces placing pressure on the teeth to move initially. This occurs because:

  • Shifting teeth displace some pressure outward into the surrounding soft tissue.
  • The lips absorb some of this pressure and get pushed forward slightly in response.

However any protrusion linked to braces is generally subtle and short-lived. As your teeth settle into proper alignment, your bite should stabilize along with lip positioning.

So while a bit more lip prominence is possible at the very outset of treatment, this typically goes away just like other temporary shape changes as your mouth adjusts around the braces.

Related Post: Is Red a Good Braces Color?

Other Common Concerns About Lips During Braces Treatment

Other Common Concerns About Lips During Braces Treatment
Other Common Concerns About Lips During Braces Treatment

If the prospect of increased size, protrusion, or general change in lip appearance with braces makes you uneasy, you’re not alone.

Many prospective patients have questions about protecting the cosmetic form and function of their lips during orthodontics.

Here are a few other effects those wearing braces often notice with their lips, along with some words of reassurance:


  • Braces can stretch your lips outward as they conform around the wires and brackets.
  • Using lots of lip balm helps minimize irritation from this.
  • Once hardware removed, lips return to normal elasticity fairly quickly.


  • Metal braces rubbing inside the mouth frequently leads to puffy, swollen-looking lips and gums at times.
  • Diligent oral hygiene helps minimize this irritation and inflammation response.
  • Icing the lips can also quickly reduce swelling when needed for a cosmetic event etc.


  • Braces putting pressure on certain nerves can numb small lip patches temporarily. This impairs eating/drinking at first.
  • Thankfully as the mouth adjusts, feeling returns to normal within several weeks typically.

So while braces certainly make their presence known on the lips during treatment in various ways, thankfully these changes do not last forever!

Caring For Your Lips While Wearing Braces

To keep your lips as comfortable and protected as possible while undergoing orthodontic treatment:

  • Use thick lip balms frequently – Shea butter, Vaseline, and other intensive balms help guard against chapping, irritation and stretch marks. Reapply liberally especially after eating/drinking.
  • Drink lots of water – Staying hydrated keeps your lips supple and elastic to prevent discomfort from stretching thin around braces. Aim for the recommended 64oz minimum per day.
  • Gently exfoliate 1-2 times per week – Lightly sloughing off dead skin cells helps reduce irritation and inflammation to keep lips calm. Use a soft washcloth or ready-made lip scrub for easy exfoliation.
  • Avoid picking at lips – This can cause scabbing and bleeding which is both painful and introduces infection risk with braces hardware.
  • See your orthodontist promptly for severe discomfort from lip stretching, numbness, tingling or swelling which persists over several days without improving. They can diagnose the issue and modify your treatment plan.

While caring for lips with braces requires some attentiveness, keeping up a nurturing daily routine helps safeguard their health during this intensive teeth shifting process.

Is There Anything I Can Do to Avoid My Lips Looking Bigger?

Since lip size changes with braces have to do with the pressures placed shifting your teeth sequence, there is no foolproof way to prevent temporary enlargement completely.

However, a few proactive steps may help reduce exaggerated size changes:

  • Ask your orthodontist to use the smallest hardware size appropriate for your unique treatment. Less spacious brackets and wiring takes up marginally less room between your lips.
  • Attend all scheduled wire tightening adjustments. Allowing wires to slacken overly between appointments results in greater pressure placed when tightened again. Gradual consistent wire tension shifts teeth more gently.
  • Carefully follow home care instructions from your orthodontist. Using recommended wax, refrain from hard/sticky foods etc. helps ease the teeth shifting process. Less jostling equals less lip disturbance.
  • Commit to the full braces treatment duration without pause. Interrupting orthodontic care midway often requires restarting pressure on the teeth, rather than a continuous gentle shift toward alignment completion.

While moderately fuller-looking lips are an inevitable part of wearing braces for most, taking measures to stabilize consistent alignment pressure helps minimize scaling up their appearance drastically larger.

Do Braces Make You Look More Attractive?

Concerns over cosmetic changes brackets and wires may bring about can leave some hesitant to pursue a straighter smile.

But do keep in mind—once your treatment is complete, braces are found to increase attractiveness for the majority of wearers.

Some key ways properly aligned teeth make you look better:

  • Straighter teeth appear more youthful. As we age, smiles often become more irregular naturally. Straightening them turns back the clock.
  • Less visible metal. Braces hardware itself obscures the smooth white shade of teeth, which looks most natural and attractive.
  • Improved symmetry. Crooked teeth draw the eye to awkward gaps or overlays. Straight alignment creates a clean uniform smile.
  • Confidence. Those with a nicely corrected bite feel better smiling freely and self-assuredly. This radiates beauty.

So while the path to straightened teeth has its uncomfortable moments, most feel the temporary loss in lip proportionality is well worth the long-term boost in appearance and self-confidence orthodontic treatment provides.

Will Braces Change My Face Shape?

To reiterate an earlier point, braces will not alter your underlying facial bone structure shape or dimensions.

The only skeletal changes possible involve:

  • Very minor thickening or remodeling along the tooth root housing areas in the jaw bone according to the new positioning pattern braces facilitate.
  • Potential slight adaptation of the upper palate (roof of mouth) to a broader arch if expanding devices are used.

So for instance, braces will not:

  • Slim your wide cheekbones
  • Narrow a broad jaw
  • Shorten a longer face
  • Lengthen a shorter face

Orthognathic surgery, aka jaw realignment procedures, is required for bone-structure-change facial shaping goals like these.

Braces keep their effects localized solely to creating proper tooth alignment within the existing jaw and skull facial dimensions.

Also Read: Can You Eat Popcorn with Braces?

People Also Ask (FAQ’s)

Do braces make you more attractive?

Braces can enhance your smile’s appearance by aligning your teeth, potentially increasing your attractiveness.

Do braces cut your lips?

While discomfort and irritation are common initially, proper care and adjustments by your orthodontist can minimize any lip discomfort.

Do braces make your jawline better?

Braces primarily focus on aligning teeth, but improved dental alignment can contribute to a more harmonious facial profile.

Do braces change your lips?

Braces can sometimes cause temporary changes to lip appearance due to adjustments in dental alignment, but these changes are typically minor.

Do braces make face slimmer?

Braces do not directly affect facial fat distribution, but improved dental alignment may enhance facial symmetry, contributing to a more balanced appearance.


It’s quite normal to feel concerned over changes braces may bring to your facial appearance and lips during intensive orthodontic treatment.

Hopefully this article has provided thorough information explaining how braces impact lips temporarily, while reassuring that:

  • Your lip size, shape and structure remains intact long-term after braces complete their work.
  • Any noticeable changes should resolve themselves to normal proportions once teeth straightening is finished.

Stay diligent with specialized lip care while wearing braces. Regularly communicate with your orthodontist over any pronounced discomfort.

Although the process can feel surreal and awkward at times, try to keep your eye on the ultimate reward—a healthy, beautifully aligned smile for life.

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