Gender Transition and Your Smile: Can Teeth Have a Gender?

The extent and precise nature of a person's gender transition is largely self-determined. You might opt to self-identify and present as your new, correct gender, without the need for gender confirmation surgery. For transgender women, the process of transitioning could also include facial feminisation surgery, which can involve a number of different cosmetic surgeries, resulting in the face taking on more feminine characteristics. But what about one of your most important facial features, namely your smile? Can cosmetic dentistry be beneficial, or even necessary, if you're transitioning to female?

Teeth and Gender

Everyone's teeth are different, but someone's gender has little effect on this. A man's teeth can be different to those of another man of a comparable age and ethnicity, and the same applies to women. There are subtle differences between a man's and woman's teeth, although "subtle" is very much the keyword. According to research by the German Society for Sex-Specific Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, it's only possible to identify someone's gender by their teeth about 50% of the time. The participants (those who attempted to ascertain gender based upon a photograph of teeth) included both dental professionals and laypersons. Essentially, any differences between male and female teeth are so minor as to be almost non-existent.

Facial Feminisation Surgery

While teeth don't have an obvious gender-specific look, any changes to your face as a result of facial feminisation surgery can alter the look of your smile. This is particularly true if your transition involves lip augmentation, or any chin and jaw surgical contouring. The prominence of your teeth can be affected by any changes to their setting, namely your jaw and lips. For this reason, you might wish to opt for cosmetic dentistry to achieve your desired smile once any facial feminisation surgical options have been completed.

Talk to Your Dentist

It's important to discuss your transition with your dentist prior to undergoing any dental treatment. Your dentist might need to know about any medication and hormone supplements you're taking, as this can affect your treatment, particularly if your dentist needs to administer any medication themselves as part of your post-operative care. If this is a factor, it might be as simple as slightly delaying any cosmetic dentistry you need.

So while your teeth might not have a distinctive gender-based appearance, it's helpful to remember that they might benefit from some optional alterations as a part of your transition.