Dentistry and Anti-Aging Smile Solutions
Anti-aging isn’t something someone normally associates with dentistry. But if you are asking, “how do I fight the effects of aging teeth?”, here are answers!
When you think of your dental office, it is easy to get the image of the hygienist cleaning your teeth, kids running for the prize box when they are finished with their appointment, or the kindly dentist discussing your dental health with you. But today, anti-aging dentistry can be a form of preventive dentistry with huge life-long benefits.
You probably don’t realize it but in addition to keeping your teeth and gums in great dental health, dentistry can also be an option for you to consider when you are looking to fight the effects of aging. This inevitably happens to all of us. If you are considering how to maintain your youthful appearance, here are a few ways that advancements and trends in modern dentistry can assist!
What is Anti-Aging Dentistry?
Anti-aging dentistry is the use of cosmetic dental procedures to improve the way your teeth support your facial structure and provide you with younger-looking smile. There are several anti-aging dentistry procedures, which we cover below.
10 WAYS DENTISTRY CAN HELP KEEP A YOUTHFUL APPEARANCE
Answering aging adult’s questions about senior tooth care and providing you with options:
1. Teeth Whitening
The first and most simple way dentistry can help is through teeth whitening. Over time teeth will lose their natural whiteness. Some of the culprits to this loss are coffee and wine. Just like staining a white shirt if you spilled on it, coffee and wine will stain your teeth. Not immediately like a white shirt, but gradually over time.
This loss of whiteness will cause your appearance to age. Luckily this is one of easier fixes. There are many ways a dentist can whiten your teeth. From custom made trays that you take home and use with a bleaching agent to whiten on your own or a higher concentration of a whitening solution that can be done for you in the dental office to provide more immediate results. You will love the results and effect it has on how you look.
2. Cosmetic Bonding
For a lot of people their teeth have not only yellowed over time but they may have become chipped or the individual may just not like the way they are shaped. If this is the case for you it is nice to know that you have cosmetic options to help.
A skilled dentist can apply a composite material over your teeth.
Composite is the same material that a dentist uses to place a tooth-colored filling when you have a cavity. The beauty of composite is that it can be made any shade of white, so if you want whiter teeth, the composite can be placed over your natural teeth and give you a nice white smile.
In addition to changing the color of your teeth composite material can also be used to fill in chips or imperfections you have in your teeth or even some minor shaping. Speaking of tooth-colored fillings, today you have more options to keep your smile looking youthful. If you are a baby boomer who had silver fillings that were done when you were younger and don’t like the look of them when you open your mouth, speak to your dentist about options you may have to replace them with tooth-colored fillings.
They may be able to take out the silver fillings and put in tooth-colored ones that no one will know are there. You won’t be afraid to open your mouth and look in the mirror anymore!
3. Porcelain Veneers
While cosmetic bonding with composite material is a viable option for you to regain a youthful, white smile, a second option that is a step above cosmetic bonding are porcelain veneers. A porcelain veneer is a covering that is made to cover your natural tooth.
It is very hard and will function like your natural tooth when finished. Like composite, it can be made any shade of white you want and it can be shaped to repair chips, imperfections or even to fill in some minor gaps between teeth.
The distinct advantage of veneers or composite material is durability. Veneers are much stronger and will last longer. They will give you an amazing smile that you can be proud of. Conversely, for veneers, they will be a higher investment for you compared with composite bonding.
4. Full Coverage Crowns
In the case where a tooth is too damaged for composites or veneers, full coverage crowns may be what is considered for you. While a veneer will cover the front of a tooth a full coverage crown will, as the name implies, cover your whole tooth.
This is done because damage like cavities or fractures needs to be treated for care, not just covered as a veneer would do. Speak to your dentist about both so you can make an informed decision on what may be best for you.
5. Correcting Tooth Length
Beyond whiter teeth there are other options in dentistry that can help you look younger. Have you ever heard the expression “long in the tooth”?
What does “long in the tooth” mean?
Being, long in the tooth is something else that happens as we age that dentistry can help with. As we get older our gums can recede up on the top teeth or down on the bottom teeth. As the gums recede, they reveal more tooth, making the tooth look longer.
Hence the expression long in the tooth.
Not a very complementary expression and one that all of us hope to never hear. That said if you look in the mirror and see that you are getting long in the tooth know that there are dental procedures that can improve this appearance.
Perhaps you are the opposite of long in the tooth and rather have a “gummy smile”. In other words when you smile you show just as much gum tissue as teeth. Modern dentistry has different solutions for this problem as well. In some cases, a simple procedure using a dental laser can remove excess gum tissue and reduce the gummy appearance.
“If you have lost teeth over the years, dentistry is one of the most dramatic ways that you can consider to help you out.” – Dr. Brett Moore
When you lose teeth parts of your face can appear sunken as your cheeks sink in to fill in the gaps where teeth used to be. Even more dramatic is where people have unfortunately lost all of their teeth, making their lips and mouths sink in. In these cases, full dentures may be in order to restore teeth and fill out the face.
6. Botox can Fix a Gummy Smile
If a more dramatic change is required a specially trained dentist can perform a tooth lengthening procedure which often is accompanied by porcelain veneers to create a dazzling smile. One more trick to managing a gummy smile is to use botox above the upper lip to reduce the height the lip moves when smiling to reduce the amount of gum that shows.
7. Dental Bridge: Solution 1 for Missing Teeth
In the case where you have individual teeth missing there are a couple of options to consider to fill in the unwanted space. The first is a dental bridge. This is used when you have two healthy teeth next to the missing tooth space.
The teeth next to the missing tooth space are fitted with crowns and a pontic is created for the missing tooth area. A pontic looks like a natural tooth and is attached to the crowns placed on the healthy teeth next to it creating the dental bridge. A pontic is a false tooth that looks like a natural tooth and is attached to the crowns placed on the healthy teeth next to it creating the dental bridge.
Smile Design Dentistry recommends having missing adult teeth assessed early on. Harvard Health, in the Gum disease and the connection to heart disease article published August 2018, says that “After accounting for age, there was a moderate correlation between tooth loss (a measure of poor oral health) and coronary heart disease.” Robert H. Shmerling, MD also discusses how older people are prone to other conditions that cause sores in and around the mouth. Regular dental checkup take this into account as well as include preventive oral cancer screening.
8. Dental Implants: Solution 2 for Missing Teeth
Your second option is to have a dental implant placed in the missing tooth area. A dental implant is a titanium screw that is placed in your jaw. Your jaw bone will form around the screw and bond to it. Once this is done a crown is placed over the implant that will look and function like your natural teeth.
The advantage to the dental implant is that you do not need to touch the natural teeth next to it. It is usually most beneficial to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible as nature still makes the best material that your teeth can be made from!
The denture or implant options can provide dramatic changes for an individual. In addition to a youthful smile, your whole face can change as it will appear more filled out. Giving the appearance of a facelift is probably a little too dramatic to state but changes to the face can be significant.
9. Orthodontics: Look Younger with Straight Teeth
Are senior adults good candidates for orthodontics?
Yes. It is one last option you may consider is very common but not one that baby boomers would necessarily think of…… orthodontics! In addition to straightening teeth braces can actually change a facial profile and give a more youthful appearance. Who knew that a treatment we normally associate with children and family dentistry would be a benefit to us maintaining a youthful appearance as we grow older!
10. Choose a Dentist with Artistry Skills
Are artistry skills important when selecting a dentist for seniors?
Yes. No matter what you may be considering to help with your own anti-aging battle dentistry should be one of the alternatives you look at. As you consider it, I would recommend that you do some research. Not all dentists have the same level of skill, knowledge, and artistry to give maximum benefit.
You will want to not only look great but have teeth that will function like natural teeth. As you interview dentists take a look at their websites. Dentistry is a commitment to life-long learning and providing you with life-long beautiful and healthy smiles. For many, that includes replacing old metallic fillings that are shrinking and need replacing.
Is your dentist committed to that through continuing education? Does the dentist proudly state their commitment to life-long learning or have they received accreditation through Fellowship (FAGD) or Mastership (MAGD) designation? Does the dentist proudly display results of cases he or she has completed? It is critical for you to place your care in the hands of someone who truly knows how to accomplish it. When done with knowledge, artistry, and passion, dentistry can provide natural-looking results that can keep you looking young and smiling for a lifetime.
We know that offering you gentle dentistry matters at every age!
Take Action: Plan for Anti-Aging Dentistry
Contact Smile Design Dentistry to request your free consultation with Dr. Moore or Dr. Jensen.
Discover the smile design treatment that’s your dental solution to anti-aging. Call 763-537-1238
Brian Denn is the Clinic Manager at Smile Design Dentistry in Plymouth, Minnesota. Brian has over 25 years of dental practice management involving making practices run smoother and patient experiences better. He also leads a dental practice managers group staying abreast of the latest dental practice management trends.