Have you seen recent photographs of yourself and wondered, “Who’s that old person?”
Do you see that the lower third of your face is starting to wrinkle, sag or form jowls? Your immediate reaction may be that the only option you have for restoring your youthful appearance is “to have some work done” – but before you book that plastic surgery consult, why not drop by your dentist’s office first? It may sound crazy, but your sunken, aged face could be caused by none other than your teeth!
The Effects of Tooth Wear and Tear
It’s no surprise that teeth wear down naturally with age. This shortening/flattening of the teeth can make your upper and lower jaws move closer together when at rest. As a result, your nose and chin are closer together as well, which compresses the appearance of the lower portion of your face. When this happens, your lips and cheeks may look collapsed, and wrinkles will form around your mouth.
If you also have bruxism, your teeth will wear even faster than they do during the normal aging process. Bruxism is a fancy word for teeth grinding, often while you sleep, and it can make you look old before your time.
Worn or damaged teeth not only affect your appearance, they also contribute to an improper bite. Teeth that do not meet properly when you bite makes eating difficult, and they also lead to more episodes of unconscious teeth grinding, creating a vicious cycle of improper oral function and bruxism.
In cases of worn teeth, a few simple dental procedures can make you look as if you’ve had a face-lift. By restoring the length of your teeth and ensuring that they are properly aligned when you bite and chew, the collapsed appearance of your lower face may very well disappear. Not only will your lips and cheeks appear fuller and more youthful with the right support, your bite will also feel more comfortable and function optimally.
Treatments To Rejuvenate Your Smile
To perform a smile rejuvenation, your dentist will first determine if you have bruxism or the related condition, TMJ disorder, which affects jaw joint functioning and can contribute to a misaligned bite. Treatment for these conditions will likely include the use of a night guard or occlusal splint to hold the jaw in the proper position and protect the teeth from the forces of clenching and grinding.
To rebuild the structure of teeth that are damaged due to aging or bruxism, your dentist will place either porcelain veneers or crowns on your teeth.
Veneers are thin porcelain laminates placed on the front teeth and can transform their length, shape and color.
Crowns, which can be constructed from a variety of materials, such as white porcelain that matches surrounding teeth, cover the entire tooth and are most often used on molars.
Sometimes teeth are so worn that they experience severe decay and cannot be saved. In such cases, your dentist will extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant, which consists of an artificial tooth root topped off with a natural-looking porcelain restoration.
Whatever treatments are used, your smile rejuvenation will not only improve the appearance of your facial structure but also turn back the clock by giving you a brighter, youthful-looking face. See your dentist today!