Why did my cheeks recently become noticeably asymmetrical?
December 28, 2016 3:46 PM   Subscribe

I know most everyone has an asymmetrical face, but what would cause mine to change somewhat suddenly?

I can't say for absolute certain that I haven't always looked like this, but my spouse, parent, and I have all only noticed it recently. One of my cheeks is significantly hollower than the other (or one is puffier? but I think the "puffy" side is normal), to the point that there is a noticeable shadow on the hollow side of my face. You can also feel the difference when touching my face.

The only relevant things I can think of are that I lost almost 20 lbs (and was already thin before that) from illness last summer and then gained it back pretty quickly while on steroids. I know steroids can cause moon face, but surely not only on one side of the face?

I also had my wisdom teeth removed around this time but I had teeth removed from both sides of my face so I don't think that would make a difference.

I am in my late 20s - is it normal for something like this to happen as an adult? (Not concerned - just curious.)
posted by raspberrE to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Could be either the steroids or the weight loss or the tooth extraction. Sometimes our bodies render changes asymmetrically. It's probably not a big deal if there's no loss of feeling or function.
posted by Etrigan at 3:55 PM on December 28, 2016

My face changed shape when I got a mouth guard to wear at night. My jaw muscles were no longer getting a workout from grinding my teeth all night, so they shrank, quite visibly. Maybe your missing wisdom tooth has taken the pressure off one side of your mouth, but not the other?
posted by embrangled at 4:09 PM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Aging will do it, but not overnight.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:27 PM on December 28, 2016

I'm sure it's nothing to be concerned about, but for a worse case scenario situation, take a took at the Bell Palsy symptoms.
posted by sardonyx at 4:51 PM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

If it were me, I'd probably go back to the dentist and ask about the effect. It could very well have something to do with the dental surgery.
posted by sardonyx at 4:57 PM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

As someone who has been on steroids (primarily prednisone in my case) steadily since I was 17 (I'm 36): the "moonface" effect changes based on my weight loss/gain (even within eight to ten pound changes one way or the other), the amount of bloating I'm experiencing from other factors (dietary, etc.) and whether I'm getting enough sleep or not. I've noticed slight asymmetry at times, especially when I had the flu recently or was really stressed at school and not getting much sleep.

My rheumatologist is not your rheumatologist but she said that it was pretty normal and that I should call if either side of my face became tender to the touch or was colder/warmer than the other.
posted by Merinda at 5:07 PM on December 28, 2016

If it was me I would call, text or go see my primary care Dr. Strangers on the internet cannot really tell you what's going on. You sound concerned - go get some reassuring from your Dr that everything is ok.

I use my yearly physical to ask all my neurotic questions about my ever changing body. It feels silly at the time but I always feel better afterwards. I can let all my concerns go.... until
I spot something else.
posted by cairnoflore at 5:57 PM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do you feel a lump or anything under the puffier cheek? I did, and it turned out I had a tumor in my salivary gland.

Go see your doctor, just to make sure this isn't anything to be concerned about.
posted by cooker girl at 6:10 PM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's most likely steroids. My moon face only started recently, but a little sinus congestion or salivary gland change (sjogrens) can make a difference.

It's worth double checking, if you're really concerned. But it's absolutely consistent with steroid shit.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 6:27 PM on December 28, 2016

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