Did you know that the appearance of your smile can age you? It’s true.
There are certain things that happen to the teeth to change their appearance as we get older. These changes contribute to our looking older. With dental treatments, we can counteract these changes to help you look younger. Here are five important ways your dentist can help you look younger.
One natural process that comes with age is a gradual darkening or yellowing of the teeth. Our teeth consist mainly of a hard structure called dentin. Dentin is yellow in color and relatively opaque.
Enamel covers the dentin of the exposed parts of our teeth (everything but the roots). While enamel is relatively white in color, it is also translucent. As we get older, our dentin becomes thicker, which makes it more yellow and more opaque. This comes through the translucent enamel, making older teeth look darker.
We can counteract the yellowing and darkening that naturally occurs with age through teeth whitening. With professional teeth whitening, we can achieve and maintain a bright white color in the teeth, which helps us to look younger.
A brighter smile always looks younger and more vibrant than a yellow, aged smile.
Teeth also tend to become shorter and flatter with age. This is due to the friction associated with chewing, clenching and grinding over many years. Short, flat teeth make you look old. We can correct this cosmetic issue with a variety of available dental treatments.
Composite resin is a tooth-colored dental material that bonds to healthy tooth structure. Dentists use it to rebuild missing tooth structure from decay or heavy wear and tear. When the damage of aging is relatively minor, your dentist can easily restore it with bonded composite resin.
Composite bonding can help lengthen teeth that have suffered shortening and flattening. They use the existing tooth structure as a guide and function to restore the original smile appearance.
Porcelain veneers are thin layers of laminate that cover the visible portion of the teeth. They can completely change the appearance of the teeth. Because they cover all of the visible tooth surface, they can change the color, size, shape, and even the apparent position of the teeth in a smile.
Porcelain veneers require healthy tooth structure to support the thin veneers. They also require protection from heavy clenching or grinding forces. If you flattened your natural teeth, you can chip or break porcelain, too. Your dentist will alert you to signs of any clenching or grinding that could shorten the lifespan of your dental work and recommend a protective nightguard to prevent future damage.
Dentists call it “full mouth rehab” when all of the teeth need restoration. This comprehensive treatment repairs and rebuilds all of the teeth back to full contour and function.
It also involves full coverage of the teeth, so your dentist can improve any cosmetic issues with the teeth that make you look older.
Many people who suffer from aging teeth have a collapsed bite. This means that the teeth shorten over time from frictional damage, and as the teeth get shorter, the upper and lower jaws come closer together. This shortening of the bite leads to more wrinkles and lines in the face. When your dentist rebuilds the bite, it separates the upper and lower jaws, eliminating many of those lines and wrinkles.
Another change in the mouth that makes a smile look “old” is receding gums. When gums recede, they expose the roots of the teeth, making the teeth appear longer. (They are not really longer; you are just seeing more of them.) This is the source of the phrase “getting long in the tooth” as a description of getting older.
We can counteract this appearance of aging teeth by restoring the gums to a more natural, youthful position. If you suffer receding gums, and you do not like the way it makes your smile appear, you may want to consider some treatment options.
For minor gum recession, there are some minimally invasive options like the Pinhole technique. For other receding gum problems, you may need a grafting surgery to replace lost gum tissue. Your dentist can guide you through the various treatment options and refer you to a gum specialist if necessary.
Missing teeth also make you look old. They do this in a couple different ways. First, missing a tooth in a visible area makes you look older. Losing teeth also allow the bite to collapse. This leads to an older appearance of the face, even when the lips are closed together.
When multiple back teeth are missing, the cheeks become sunken in. Missing front teeth allow the lips to collapse inward. All of this leads to more visible lines and wrinkles in the face.
When you replace missing teeth, you can provide the support for facial structures that improves the appearance of those lines and wrinkles. You can also open the bite and prevent further collapsing. We have a wide range of treatment options for replacing missing teeth, including removable prosthetics, dental implant-supported tooth replacements that anchor into the bone, and bridges that connect to teeth.
We see many patients who wear full dentures on both the upper and lower jaws. These dental prosthetics are great, inexpensive ways to replace a full mouth of missing teeth. The teeth in a full denture are typically plastic (some dentures use porcelain teeth, which are more expensive). Plastic will wear over time just like natural teeth do. They become shorter and flatter. As they wear down, the upper and lower jaws collapse toward each other, which shortens the face and creates new wrinkles around the mouth.
When we fabricate a brand new set of dentures, we restore the height of the face back to a normal, more youthful dimension.
New dentures can also fill out the soft tissues of the lips and cheeks. A full denture extends over the jawbone and into the vestibules (the area underneath the lips) for support. Your dentist can tailor the thickness of the vestibules to create just the right fullness in the face.
Call your nearest Premier Dental of Ohio location today to schedule a consultation with one of our wonderful dentists. We can answer any questions you have about how your smile is affecting your appearance. We will also assess your specific situation and offer ways you can change your smile to help you look younger.