When we talk about the benefits of cosmetic dentistry, the conversation is usually focused on the teeth themselves: How to make them whiter, straighter, and cleaner. But one oft-overlooked benefit of cosmetic dentistry is that it can also improve your overall facial appearance. Orthodontics, restorations, and straightening methods such as Invisalign can transform the bone structure and subtract years from a face. Here’s how.
How our bone structure changes as we age
As we get older, our faces start to lose volume, both in the soft tissue (fat and skin) and the underlying bone. Our eye sockets become larger and deeper, the bones of our forehead and jaw recede, and our teeth lose volume. Since the teeth and jaw support the cheeks and lips, this loss has an impact on the overall shape of the face. The technical, unfortunate name for this process is “facial collapse.”
How our teeth lose volume as we age
We mentioned above that our teeth change naturally as we age. The primary teeth that are affected are the back molars, which become flatter and shorter due to regular chewing, teeth grinding, and jaw clenching. Shorter molars mean a shorter face. The bite is collapsed, and the lower jaw is pressed into the upper jaw.
Teeth also usually get pushed inward over time, again from the wear of chewing and jaw clenching. As a result, the smile (or arch) becomes narrower, offering less support to the cheeks and skin. You’ll perceive this narrowing as facial hollowing around the cheeks and a flattening, or curling in, of the lips.
How can dental work help?
Cosmetic dentistry and, in severe cases, orthodontics, can help move the teeth outward, broadening the teeth and therefore, the face. Invisalign clear aligners are one discreet way to transform the shape of the jaw from a narrow V-shaped arch to a healthy U-shaped arch. In some cases, other appliances are used to expand the palate.
Tooth height can also be corrected by shape and height restorations. If the teeth are tipped forwards or backwords, Invisalign can often correct this problem as well.
Get a beautiful smile at our Charleston cosmetic dentist!
Of course, at Lowcountry Dental Arts, we are more concerned about helping your teeth be strong and pain-free over the course of your lifetime—but getting a more youthful, healthy appearance is a nice added bonus! To straighten your smile or seek other cosmetic dentistry services, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today.