Aging is inevitable – looking significantly older, however, is not. An attractive smile is one of the first things other people notice about your face. You might not realize that there's a great deal a dentist can do to improve your smile and help you look younger. The aging face and anti-aging cosmetic dentistry techniques available today can be combined in such a way as to make a big difference (and improve your oral health in the process).
The Aging Face
No matter how good your genetic inheritance, the years take a toll. Collagen – the natural support structure of the skin and tissues – begins to deteriorate, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Your normal expressions also create wrinkles in areas like the forehead, at the eye corners and beside the mouth. Aging gums often gradually recede. Your teeth wear down over time and can become stained or yellowed. If you have lost any teeth, the mouth and cheeks can sag inward (facial collapse), and the bone in the jaws may deteriorate. You are also more susceptible to infections as the immune system may become weaker with age as well.
What Is Anti-Aging Dentistry?
Although anti-aging dentistry does provide an improved appearance, the real issue here is to improve your oral health. For example, missing teeth increase the risk of decay. Your jawbone needs the exercise of chewing, just as leg bones need weight-bearing exercise. When you lose one or more teeth, the bone in that area of the jaw becomes weaker. One or more missing teeth can also make the remaining teeth shift, causing uneven wear and increasing the chance that you'll chip or crack other teeth. Teeth can also become thinner from wear, which deprives the mouth and cheeks of some support and can contribute to facial collapse. With the exception of tooth whitening, anti-aging cosmetic dentistry treatments also improve your oral health.
First Things First
A good anti-aging cosmetic dentistry plan begins with a careful assessment. Your dentist will examine your teeth, mouth, jaw and gums as well as the palate (roof of the mouth). This assessment will identify both cosmetic issues such as yellowed teeth and health issues, such as cavities or missing teeth. You'll also be asked about problems like bruxism (grinding your teeth) and possible symptoms of temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, as these can affect the appearance of your teeth as well as your oral health. The dentist will make an aesthetic assessment – for example, do you have sunken cheeks? Are your facial features balanced and if not, is it because of something to do with your teeth? The dentist will then develop a plan of care that includes fixing any health issues as well as proposed cosmetic treatments.
Anti-Aging Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments
Your dentist has lots of possibilities to help solve your dental aging issues. Here are some of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures:
Health-Oriented Treatments – these include filling cavities, treating receding gums and root canals; if you are in pain or have bad breath or obvious decay from cavities, it will affect both your health and your appearance.
Teeth Whitening – hydrogen peroxide bleach is used to whiten your teeth and remove surface stains.
Bonding – resin composite, a form of plastic, can be used to fill chips and cracks in a tooth or reshape a tooth; it can also serve the same function as veneers.
Veneers – for teeth that are badly stained, slightly crooked or widely spaced, the thin porcelain shells called veneers can cover up the imperfections. Veneers don't actually correct crooked teeth the way orthodontic treatment can, but they can improve the appearance.
Implants – if you have missing teeth, implants can correct the problem. The implant consists of a metal “root,” an abutment that is screwed onto the top and a prosthetic tooth made from porcelain or resin composite. A special type of implant called the All on 4 is used to replace multiple missing teeth.
No matter what your dental health issues are, your local cosmetic dentist can help you. Make sure to find a dentist that offer restorative and preventive dentistry as well as cosmetic treatments.