How To Fix A Narrow Smile: Can Braces Or Invisalign Help?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

If you only show six teeth when you smile, you’re considered to have a narrow smile. This is a common oral problem that affects many people. Because wider smiles are considered more attractive following modern beauty standards, many people with narrow smiles want to fix that. But can braces or Invisalign fix it?

Yes, braces or Invisalign can help make a smile appear wider. However, this method does not widen the jawbone. It only realigns the teeth, and as a result, they become less narrow. Although, for adults with overly narrow smiles, surgery is recommended for more effective results.   

Narrow smiles develop because of the alignment and width of the jaw and teeth. Having multiple teeth missing can impact your teeth’ appearance and make them look narrow. Also, with a narrow smile, your cheeks are not well supported, which affects facial aesthetic structure. You can embrace different treatments to treat a narrow smile and become more attractive. 

What Causes a Narrow Smile?

Teenage girl smiling in orthodontic brackets showing OK sign

You can notice a narrow smile when just a few of the front teeth show when smiling. Typically, you’re considered to have a narrow smile if six or fewer of your teeth are visible when smiling.

While a narrow smile doesn’t cause medical complications, you want to have it fixed, as a wider smile is considered more attractive. However, there are situations where a narrow smile can cause real problems. 

The upper part of the mouth causes the narrow smile––a misshapen maxillary arch. The arch should typically be curved to form a traditional U shape that ensures teeth grow into a curved pattern. However, if this arch tapers and takes a V shape, your mouth’s opening will appear narrow.

This can cause teeth to begin tilting inward, so you have space between the teeth and your cheeks. When this happens, you end up with a narrower jawline, and your cheeks can begin to appear sunken in. 

In some extreme cases, narrow smiles accompany other dental complications like underbite, overbite, and crossbite. In addition, when the jaw alignment is misaligned, the patient could develop impediments with speech and could also experience difficulties breathing.

So, getting a narrow smile fixed is not just for cosmetic benefits but could also prevent health complications. 

Can Braces Fix a Narrow Smile

So, can you fix a narrow smile? This depends on the severity; sometimes, a patient may need surgery to align the jaw. However, in most cases, you only need a less invasive procedure like the traditional metal braces.

In a child under 13, an orthodontist might use a palate expander, which widens the maxillary arch because, at this age, it’s not fully formed. But after the age of 13, the arch is not malleable. So an adult may need surgery to fix a narrow maxillary arch to expand the plate and get the correct width. 

One of the best ways to fix a narrow smile is to use Damon Braces. These are not only suitable if you want a broader smile, but they’ll also give you a straighter smile. They’re like standard braces, except they don’t require elastics to keep the archwire in place.

Instead, the braces use a slide mechanism to keep the archwire in place, allowing free movement of the teeth, and ensuring less friction and more efficiency. A patient with Damon Smile braces will see their teeth move more comfortably and quickly, and the arch expands to allow the teeth to glide into their ideal positions. 

The result is a fuller and broader smile, which creates smoother cheek contours, better facial profiles, and better facial balance. All this can be achieved with the right set of braces. 

Can Invisalign Widen a Narrow Smile?

Another option you can explore if you don’t want to use braces is Invisalign. Many prefer Invisalign to metal braces, as it’s more discreet, easily removable, and less painful. The cost of getting Invisalign is almost similar to metal braces.

However, this doesn’t fit everyone, as Invisalign often works for minor spacing issues like small gaps, overcrowding, and slightly crooked teeth. Opting for metal braces is more suitable if you have a moderate to severe narrow smile. 

The Invisalign treatment to fix a narrow smile can last up to 6 to 18 months. After that, you’re given plastic aligners designed to fit perfectly over your teeth.

While you must remove the aligners while drinking or eating, you can wear them for the rest of the day. Aligners like these move the teeth gently over time until they’re in position and the desired result is achieved. 

In the process of the smile widening, you should expect the upper teeth to shift outward. If the teeth are crowded, the remedy will make them begin spacing out.

After properly spacing the teeth and shifting alignment, you will have a broader and more attractive smile. However, be sure to discuss with your dentist as many other factors, like sleep patterns, contribute to poor jaw alignment. 

How to Get a Wider Smile Naturally

Portrait of a happy smiling young woman with dental braces

The best way to address any issue that affects your body is to take a natural approach. Like other health problems, you can embrace a few natural methods to help you fix your narrow smile. These are some solutions you can try out to get a wider smile.

Smile Exercise

This includes repetitive smiles focused on exercising action muscles of the face. The movements target elevation and retraction muscles in the oral cavity. These exercises take facial muscles through the entire range of functions. If you want to strengthen these muscles naturally, use the fingers as weights to perform the exercises. 

Face Lift Exercises

Due to loss of facial muscle tone, you can get facial sagging, a deepened nasal labial fold, and effaced lip contour. To tone facial muscles, you must perform facial lift exercises after smile exercises.

The benefit of facelift exercises is that they tone and condition muscles that run to the edge of the nose and front of the upper lip. Through consistent practice, you will see the results from these exercises in about 3 to 5 months. 

Mandible Strengthening Exercises

To maintain facial harmony, it’s essential to commit efforts to strengthen muscles that do lifting motions. These functions reduce aging grooves and double chins on the lower part of the face. Professionals recommend these exercises because they engage many facial muscles and contribute to good alignment. 


A beautiful smile makes you feel more comfortable around people. It can boost your self-esteem and make you more sociable, making life more enjoyable. If you have a narrow smile, you can get help through braces, which realign the teeth and fix gaps or overcrowding to give you that beautiful smile.

Also, Invisalign is a solution you can embrace if you don’t want to use metal braces. If you prefer a natural approach, there are exercises you can perform to strengthen the correct muscles around your cheeks and mouth. 

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