Understanding Long Face Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Lara Mokhtar, MD Written by - Dr. Diksha Sangle


Long Face Syndrome

A wonderful canvas of individuality, the human face conveys feelings, personality, and identity. However, beneath this exterior lies a complex interplay of genetics, development, and environment that can result in various facial structures. One condition that impacts facial harmony and aesthetics is long-face syndrome. Referred to as dolichocephalic facial morphology, an elongated facial appearance characterizes it. While the syndrome’s impact extends beyond near aesthetics, its effects can profoundly affect individuals’ oral health, psychological well-being, and overall quality of life. Long-face syndrome will be thoroughly examined in this article, along with its causes, symptoms, diagnoses, and available treatments. We hope to educate people and medical professionals about this frequently misdiagnosed ailment in order to equip them with the knowledge they need to recognize it, identify it, and effectively treat it. 1 Introduction | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health

One condition that impacts facial harmony and aesthetics is long-face syndrome. Referred to as dolichocephalic facial morphology, an elongated facial appearance characterizes it.


Symptoms of Long Face Syndrome

It is a complex condition that manifests through various symptoms, impacting both the aesthetics of the face and oral health. Understanding these is crucial for early detection and tailored treatment. Below, we will explore the symptoms in greater detail:

Facial features

  • Vertical maxillary excess
  • High forehead
  • Thin lips

Dental and orthodontic issues

  • Malocclusion
  • Overbite
  • Gummy smile
  • Temporomandibular jaw issue

Facial features:

Vertical maxillary excess

  • It is characterized by the excessive vertical growth of the upper jaw, medically known as the maxilla.
  • The lower portion of the face seems longer than usual as a result. This elongation of the face is a hallmark feature of the syndrome.

High forehead

  • Due to the vertical growth of the upper jaw, people often have a high forehead.
  • The increased height of the forehead contributes to the overall vertical facial appearance.

Thin lips

  • In some cases, people may have thin lips.
  • The elongated facial structure can lead to the perception of more delicate lips, which may affect their smile aesthetics.

Dental and orthodontic issues:


  • When the jaws are closed, it commonly results in malocclusion because the top and lower teeth do not line up properly.
  • Dismiss alignment can result in difficulties with biting, chewing, and speaking.


  • Overbite, or a greater vertical overlap of the upper front teeth over the lower front teeth, is a frequent occurrence.
  • This can not only affect facial aesthetics but also lead to functional issues.

Gummy smile

  • An excessive showing of gum tissues when smiling is known as a “gummy smile.
  • In people with long face syndrome, the elongation of the upper jaw causes this condition. It can impact self-esteem and the overall appearance.

Temporomandibular joint issues:

  • It can contribute to problems with the temporomandibular joint.
  • These issues may manifest as pain, clicking, and what is comfort in the jaw joint, affecting an individual’s ability to open and close their mouth comfortably.2 Symptoms| Researched based study from Science Direct


Causes for Long Face Syndrome

It is a complex disorder with several facets that are influenced by a number of variables, including genetics, environment, and developmental elements.

Genetics: Is long face syndrome genetic?

It plays a significant role in long-face syndrome. It is thought that a person’s genetic makeup may predispose them to this illness. Key points to consider regarding this aspect include:

Family history

  • It can run in families. Individuals with a family history of this condition may have a higher risk of developing it, suggesting a genetic component.

Inheritance patterns

  • Researchers have identified potential inheritance patterns related to the development, suggesting that specific genes may contribute to the development of syndromes.

Environmental factors

While genetics set the stage, environmental factors can also influence the development. These may include:

Oral habits

  • During childhood, prolonged or excessive use of certain oral habits, such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, can impact the development of the joint facial structures, potentially contributing to it.

Breathing patterns

  • Abnormal breathing patterns, such as chronic mouth breathing instead of nasal breathing, can affect facial growth and development, potentially leading to an elongated face.

Developmental factors

They encompass a range of influences that affect the growth of facial structures, including:

Growth imbalances

  • The growth of the upper and lower jaws during childhood and adolescence may be a factor in this problem.
  • This results in the disproportionate vertical growth of the face.

Delayed growth

  • Delayed or altered growth patterns of facial bones in structures during childhood and adolescence can lead to the characteristic features.

Orthodontic factors

  • Untreated orthodontic issues, such as an untreated overbite, underbite, can also influence the development.

Understanding the interplay of these elements is necessary for healthcare professionals when diagnosing and developing treatment plans for this condition. 2 Causes| Researched based study from Science Direct


Diagnosis of Long Face Syndrome

It involves a comprehensive assessment by healthcare professionals, typically orthodontists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, or dentists specializing in craniofacial disorders. The diagnosis aims to confirm the presence of the syndrome and evaluate its severity. Here is a breakdown of the steps involved:

Clinical Evaluation

Medical history

  • The process begins with a detailed medical and dental history—information about family history, developmental milestones, and any relevant habits such as thumb sucking.

Physical examination

  • A thorough physical examination of the face and oral cavity is conducted. They will assess facial features and dental alignment white patterns.
  • Special attention is given to identifying characteristic syndrome signs, such as an elongated facial appearance and Mal occlusion.

Imaging Studies

Cephalometric X-rays

  • They provide detailed images of the skull and facial bones.
  • These X-rays help measure and analyze the relationship between various facial structures, including the upper and lower jaws, which are crucial for diagnosing and determining their severity.

Orthodontic records

  • This includes intraoral and extra oral photographs, dental impressions, and bite registrations; this is essential for a comprehensive assessment.
  • These records assist in planning orthodontic and surgical interventions.

Analysis & Diagnosis

Cephalometric analysis

  • Orthodontics and oral and maxillofacial surgeons used metric analysis to measure and evaluate specific angles, distances, and relationships between facial structures. This helps in confirming the diagnosis.

Dental models

  • They are created from the impressions of the patient’s teeth to help assess malocclusion and bite issues.

Differential diagnosis

  • It’s essential to differentiate this syndrome from other cranial facial conditions that may present with similar symptoms. Differential diagnosis ensures that the correct disorder is identified, allowing for appropriate treatment planning.

Consultation and treatment planning

  • Once a diagnosis is confirmed, a consultation with an interdisciplinary specialist team may be recommended.
  • Together, they develop a customized treatment plan tailored to the Individual’s needs.

Early diagnosis is essential for timely and effective treatment, which may involve orthodontic care; surgical interventions combine both. People with this ailment can dramatically improve their quality of life with proper diagnosis and treatment.3 Diagnosis| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health


Treatment for Long Face Syndrome

Orthodontic treatment for long-face syndrome

It is vital in addressing this condition, primarily correcting Mal occlusion and improving facial harmony. Below are some key aspects:

Comprehensive evaluation

  • Orthodontists perform a thorough evaluation, including clinical assessments, X-rays, and dental Impressions, to understand the individual specific needs and the severity of the syndrome.

Customized treatment plans

  • Based on the evaluation, they develop personalized treatment plans. These may involve a combination of appliances and orthodontic techniques.


  • Traditional braces are often used to align teeth. They are made up of brackets and wires that exert control forces on teeth to shift them into the right places.

Functional appliances

  • Functional appliances like headgear, face masks, or palette expanders may sometimes be used. These devices help to guide jaw growth and improve the bite.

Dental alignment

  • It focuses on achieving a harmonious dental arch and correcting over-bites or under-bites.

Treatment duration

  • Depending on the complexity of the case and the patient’s response, the length of orthodontic therapy varies. It can last anywhere between a few months to a few years. 2 Treatment| Researched based study from Science Direct

Surgical interventions

It may be necessary in some cases, particularly when orthodontic treatment alone cannot fully address the condition.

Orthognathic surgery

  • Repositioning the upper and lower jaws is a frequent surgical technique used to address skeletal abnormalities and improve face harmony.

Pre-surgical planning

  • Detailed planning, including advanced imaging techniques, is crucial to determine the precise surgical movements required.
  • This ensures that the surgery is tailored to the individual specific needs.

Surgical procedure

  • It is usually carried out when completely unconscious. Surgeons make incisions inside the mouth to access the jaw bones.
  • Then carefully preposition the Jaws as planned, using specialized instruments and fixation devices like screws and plates.


  • Patients may feel edema and soreness following surgery, but these side effects typically go away within a few weeks. A post-operative phase often follows to find and tune the byte and achieve optimal. 4 Treatment| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health

Lifestyle modifications

Oral habits

  • Particularly in children, addressing and getting rid of bad oral habits like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting might help with the healing of their facial development.

Dental hygiene

  • To avoid dental problems that could worsen the disease, maintaining proper oral hygiene practices is crucial.
  • This includes having regular dental examinations and keeping your mouth clean.

Healthy diet

  • A balanced diet rich in nutrients is crucial for overall health and can support proper facial development.
  • Adequate nutrition can contribute to the well-being of the jaw and facial bones.

Breathing habits

  • Encouraging nasal breathing instead of chronic mouth breathing can promote healthy facial development.
  • In some cases, addressing allergies or other factors contributing to mouth breathing may be necessary.


  • Proper posture, including head and neck alignment, can impact facial aesthetics and comfort.
  • Practicing good posture habits can complement treatment efforts.

Psychological support

  • It can sometimes affect an individual self-esteem and psychological well-being.
  • Seeking support from mental health professionals or support groups can be beneficial. 2Treatment| Researched based study from Science Direct


Complications of Long face Syndrome.

Complications of Long Face Syndrome

Impact on Oral Health

  • Misalignment of the jaws and teeth is a frequent result.
  • This can make it difficult to bite, chew, and speak, and it can also put you at risk for developing dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease.

Difficulties with the temporomandibular joint

  • TMJ issues can cause jaw pain, popping or clicking noises, and restricted jaw movement.

Speech difficulties

  • The positioning of the jaws and teeth can affect speech clarity, leading to speech impediments or difficulties pronouncing certain sounds.

Gingival display

  • The elongation of the upper jaw can lead to excessive gum display when smiling, which can affect an individual’s confidence in their smile.

Psychological and social effects


  • The distinctive facial appearance associated with it may lead to lowered self-esteem and self-confidence especially in adolescents and young adults.

Social anxiety

  • People may experience social anxiety or discomfort due to concerns about their appearance.

Bullying and teasing

  • Children with noticeable facial differences may be vulnerable to peer bullying or teasing, which can have lasting emotional effects.

Potential health risks

Beyond oral and psychological effects, it may also pose potential health risks:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

  • In some cases, it can contribute to this condition characterized by repeated interruption in breathing during sleep. It can have serious health consequences, including cardiovascular problems and daytime fatigue.

Chronic pain

  • TMJ issues and facial discomfort can lead to chronic pain, affecting an individual’s quality of life.

Speech and communication challenges

  • Speech difficulties resulting from the condition may impact communication skills and educational and professional opportunities. 6 Complications| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health,7 Complications| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health


Preventing Long Face Syndrome

Preventive measures involve a combination of early detection, orthodontic care in childhood, and, in some cases, genetic counseling. These measures can help identify and manage the condition proactively.

Early detection

  • Regular dental checkups: Schedule regular dental checkups for children and adults. Dentists can identify early signs of malocclusion or facial irregularities, which may indicate the need for further evaluation.
  • Awareness of family history: Be aware of your family’s medical history. If long-face syndrome and related conditions are prevalent in your family, closely monitoring children’s facial development is essential.

Orthodontic care in childhood

  • Early orthodontic evaluation: Children should undergo an orthodontic evaluation by age 7, even if no apparent issues are present.
  • Timely treatment: If any signs of long-face syndrome are identified in childhood, follow the recommended orthodontic treatment plan.
  • Interceptive orthodontics: In some cases, this may be recommended. It involves addressing oral habits, jaw growth imbalances, or other issues that could contribute.

Genetic counselling

  • Family planning: If the syndrome runs in your family, consider genetic counseling before family planning. Genetic counsellors can offer treatment choices and information on the likelihood of the problem being passed down.
  • Prenatal testing: In some cases, prenatal testing can provide insights into the genetic Predisposition of cranial facial conditions.
  • Informed decision-making: Genetic counselling can assist individuals and couples in making decisions about family planning with knowledge of the potential dangers and available options. 5Prevention| Researched based study from Research Gate


Long Face Syndrome – Frequently Asked Questions

Does face length increase with age?

  • Yes, in many individuals, face length can increase with age.
  • This phenomenon is often associated with natural aging processes, including bone density and facial tissue changes.

Can you fix long-face syndrome?

  • The appropriate medical and dental interventions can effectively manage and improve it.
  • While it may not be possible to completely change your natural facial structure, treatment aims to address the associated issues and enhance both function and aesthetics.

Do tall people have long faces?

  • Not necessarily. Height and face shape are not directly correlated.
  • While taller individuals may have longer vertical dimensions overall, but that does not mean they will automatically have a long face.
  • Face shape is influenced by genetics, bone structure, and other factors that vary widely among people of different heights.
Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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